Atlanta - Government officials are worried about the lack of natural B vitamin "folate" in the diet of many young women.
Previous research has linked the inadequacy of this vitamin to birth defects of the brain and spine. The research had also led to breads and cereals being supplemented with folic acid. This was especially recommended to pregnant women.
A nation-wide study, undertaken between 1999 and 2004 showed that more than 50% of the 4500 women studied, were in the child-bearing years, whose diets portrayed an 18% reduction in the content of this crucial vitamin.
Researchers felt that one possible reason for vitamin deficiency was low-carb dieting that resulted in decreased consumption of bread and cereals containing folic acid supplements. Obesity is also thought to play a role in folate metabolisis, which happens differently in obese people. Such people may also require a higher quantity of this vitamin.