B12 technology could boost folic acid

by Josh Sosland
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CEDAR KNOLLS, N.J. — A new technology aimed at reducing the need for vitamin B12 injections could have an impact on the debate about folic acid fortification of enriched grains. Emisphere Technologies, Inc. on Feb. 7 reported proof-of-concept animal studies demonstrating that vitamin B12 pills using the company’s oral delivery technology showed absorption 15 to 30 times greater than with conventional vitamin B12 pills. Human clinical trials will begin later this year. The company said vitamin B12 injections are being administered to more than 5 million Americans and another 5 million take B12 orally. Vitamin B12 deficiency, known as pernicious anemia, has been cited as a reason to hold back on folic acid fortification levels. Folic acid corrects certain manifestations of pernicious anemia but allows neurologic damage from the condition to progress. Higher levels of folic acid fortification have been advocated by the March of Dimes to further reduce neural tube birth defects.

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