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Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Expecting Mothers Linked to Heart Defects In Newborns, Study Says

According to researchers participating in a Dutch HAVEN study – which was designed to examine the link between environmental and genetic factors and congenital heart defects (CHD) – risk of having babies with congenital heart defects can be increased if pregnant women are deficient in vitamin B12.

“The mother serves as the environment of the child as the embryo forms,” said the study’s project leader RĂ©gine Steegers-Theunissen, MD, PhD, of the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

“Both genetic and environmental factors, such as nutrition and lifestyle, play important roles in the prevention or development of congenital heart defects.”

The study, which was published in the December 2006 European Journal of Nutrition involved 192 mothers of children with CHD and 216 mothers of children without CHD being surveyed. The findings indicate that CHD was linked to low intake of B12. Moreover, in women with the lowest intake of B12 the level of risk was doubled.

“In this study we demonstrated for the first time that a low maternal dietary vitamin B12 intake is associated with an approximately twofold increased risk of having a baby with a congenital heart defect.”

Dr. Steegers-Theunissen stated, “Women who are planning a pregnancy should consume a diet rich in [folic acid] and vitamin B12, and if not possible should use a low-dose vitamin supplement containing both folic acid and vitamin B12.”

Aside from the risk of CHD, the women with low B12 levels also tended to have high levels of homocysteine according to the study. Homocysteine is a substance that raises the risk of heart disease and birth defects but can be controlled with adequate supplementation of folic acid and vitamin B12.

Frank Mangano’s commentary:

For a good dose of folic acid, turn to green veggies like kale, spinach, beans, and collard greens and fruits like oranges. You can find vitamin B12 in eggs and fish.

As always, quality is just as important as quantity. While the first step for many pregnant woman is to realize that B12 supplementation is just as important as folic acid when it comes prenatal nutrition, it is equally if not more important to get good sources of B12.

Many people consume a toxic form of the vitamin that is found in many cheap multivitamin products called cyanocobalamin. When shopping for B12, always be sure that methylcobalamin and hydroxycobalamin are in the ingredients list.

Folks, the bottom line here is that ALL B vitamins, including folic acid, should be increased during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Related Posts

  1. Intake of Prenatal Vitamins Drastically Reduces Children’s Cancer Risk, Study Finds
  2. Heart Disease Death Risk Lowered by One-Third Through Vitamin D, Study Says
  3. Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12 Play An Essential Role In Brain Function, Study Concludes
  4. Air Pollution Increases Risk of Heart Disease in Women, Study Finds
  5. Sleeping Habits Linked to Diabetes Risk, According to Study
  


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