June 3, 2004
NIJMEGEN, The Netherlands--Folic acid is well known for its ability to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida; however, it appears other nutrients may also play a critical role in this area, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition (134:1516-22, 2004; www.nutrition.org). Dutch researchers compared maternal nutritional intake in 106 women who gave birth to infants with spina bifida to data on 181 controls. Mothers with affected offspring had significantly lower intakes of plant proteins, iron, magnesium and niacin. The researchers concluded low preconceptional intake of these nutrients was associated with a 2- to 5-fold increased risk of having a child with spina bifida.
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