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Vitamin Deficiency related to Spina Bifida birth defect

Maternal Iron, Magnesium, and Niacin Intake is Associated with Risk of Spina Bifida in Offspring.

Journal of Nutrition. June 2004;134(6):1516-22.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), spina bifida is a neural tube defect caused by the failure of the fetus’s spine to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. Although the resulting spinal opening can be surgically repaired shortly after birth, the nerve damage is permanent, resulting in varying degrees of paralysis of the lower limbs.
It is widely documented that folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida, however Scientists were interested in knowing whether other nutrients could also reduce the occurrence of spina bifida.
Researchers from the Netherlands (University Medical Center in Nijmegen and the Erasmus University Center in Rotterdam) compared data on nutrient intakes from 106 mothers with spina bifida babies with 181 controls by using a food frequency questionnaire around 2 years after conception.
Mothers who had babies with spina bifida had significantly lower intakes of plant proteins, fiber, iron, magnesium and niacin than mothers with healthy babies. Risk of spina bifida was 2.5 times higher for mothers in the lowest quarter of niacin intake, 3.5 times higher for mother in the lowest quarter of iron intake and 1.9 times higher for mothers in the lowest quarter of magnesium intake.

For more information visit The Journal of Nutrition at

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