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Folate has an important metabolic role by providing one carbon units that are used for nucleotide biosynthesis and methylation reactions that are both vital for epigenetic control, genomic stability and the maintenance of health.
Important not only for its availability as an essential nutrient but folate also intertwines us firmly within the environment as part of an unexpected link between light and the genome.
Folate deficiency has been overcome by replacement with folic acid, taken as a supplement and/or through food fortification but is this solving one problem but risking others with the wider long-term implication of this manipulation in its potential to alter the human genome.
The mandatory folic acid food fortification public health policy and implementation needs to be re-examined and possibly debated in the public arena, particularly in view of the risk of altering the human genome. Have the public been adequately informed and are there implications for the whole vitamin and mineral supplement industry?
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