Folic acid is often used in pregnancy. Why Canada just recalled multiple brands

Health Canada has recalled six brands of folic acid tablets for containing a higher dosage than is safely recommended during pregnancy.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says that all people who could become pregnant need to take a multivitamin with 0.4mg of folic acid in it every day. The products recalled Tuesday contain 1.0mg.

The six brands involved in the recall are Compliments, Equate, Health One, Nature’s Bounty, Pharmasave and Sisu. The supplements were sold by the company Vita Health Products Inc. of Winnipeg, Man.

“Affected lots exceed or may exceed the acceptable intake limit for N-nitroso-folic acid,” Health Canada says in the notice.

The recall notice does not state when the affected products were sold.

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According to PHAC, folic acid is vital to the normal growth of a baby’s spine, brain and skull. Taking the vitamin daily during pregnancy, especially in the early stages, can reduce the risk of a baby being born with a neural tube defect. The defect can lead to stillbirth or lifelong disability, it says.

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“Even if you are not planning to become pregnant, you need to take folic acid because many pregnancies are unplanned. If you are planning to become pregnant, take the supplement for at least three months before pregnancy,” the agency advises.

Women who may require a higher dose of folic acid should talk to their health-care provider, the agency says, especially if they plan on increasing their dose beyond 1mg per day. Too much folic acid can mask a B12 deficiency.

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Though folate can be found in foods such as corn and dark green vegetables, PHAC says most women cannot consume enough of the vitamin from their diet alone to achieve the total amount recommended.

Health Canada advises consumers in the recall to consult their health-care provider prior to discontinuing use of the affected products, and to report any health product related side effects or safety complaints.

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Health Canada also recommends returning the affected product to your place of purchase for proper disposal, and to contact the recalling firm for any questions.

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