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Folic Acid and Neural Tube Defects

Folic Acid and Neural Tube Defects NUTRITION & FOOD SCIENCE Folic Acid and Neural Tube Defects Scientists have long suspected that FOLIC ACID deficiencies of folic acid may contribute to Folic acid belongs to the B group of defects such as spina bifida and vitamins. It has a number of biologically hydrocephalus, both known as neural tube active derivatives or related compounds in defects. Twenty-five years ago it was food so the naturally occurring vitamin is suggested that deficiency of folic acid, one of usually collectively referred to as "folate". the B vitamins, might be the culprit. Now it Folate has an important function in DNA has been proved. synthesis and consequently in cell division. It was a difficult piece of research to Foods which contain folate include leafy perform. To be scientifically valid, scientists vegetables such as sprouts and spinach, other needed volunteer women who had already vegetables such as potatoes, peas, beans and had a baby with a neural tube defect because tomatoes, fruit, especially oranges, bananas, their risk of having another defective baby melon and avocado, yeast extract and was ten times greater than average. They had breakfast cereals fortified with folate. to be willing to accept a supply of tablets Food preparation can cause losses of the that might contain vitamins or might just be vitamin which may be destroyed by a placebo. prolonged heating and, for example, by As with all randomized double blind trials canning. Good sources of folate which do the participants were randomly assigned to not require cooking are Marmite yeast receive different tablets and the type of tablet extract, lettuce, watercress and coleslaw. Nuts, was kept secret from the women and their wholegrain cereals and wholemeal bread can doctors until the trial was completed. The also contribute significant amounts of folate results, published in the Lancet[l], came from to the diet. research on 1,195 women seen at 33 centres in seven countries. At around the time of conception each was given one of four types of pill: a dummy pill, folic acid, a multivitamin or multivitamin plus folic acid. References Most of the women gave birth to healthy 1. MRC Vitamin Study Research Group, babies but there were 27 babies with neural "Prevention of Neural Tube Defects: Results of tube defects, though the expected number the Medical Research Council Vitamin Study", was between 40 and 45. Of these 27, only six Lancet, Vol. 338, 1991, pp. 131-7. were to women given folic acid regardless of 2. Smithells, R.W., Sheppard, S. and Schorah, whether they had multivitamins or not. This G.J. et al., "Possible Prevention of Neural Tube clearly shows that folic acid offers protection Defects by Periconceptional Vitamin but that other vitamins did not. Supplementation", Lancet, Vol. 1, 1980, pp. Intervention studies in Leeds indicated that 339-40. periconceptional use of antenatal multivitamin tablets containing folic acid 3. Smithells, R.W., Sneller, M.J., Harris, R. et al., could reduce the risk of neural tube defects "Further Experiences of Vitamin in babies born to women who had had a Supplementation for Prevention of Neural Tube previously affected pregnancy[2,3]. Defect Recurrences", Lancet, Vol. 1, 1983, pp. Another study in South Wales indicated 1027-31. that folic acid alone could also reduce the 4. Laurence, K.M., James, N., Miller, M.H. et al., risk of recurrence of NTD when given "Double Blind Randomised Controlled Trial of around the time of conception[4]. Folate Treatment before Conception to Prevent Recurrence of Neural Tube Defects", British Nutrition & Food Science. Vol. 23 No. 1, 1992, p. 24, © MCB University Press, 0034-6659. Medical Journal, Vol. 282, 1981, pp. 1509-11. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nutrition & Food Science Emerald Publishing

Folic Acid and Neural Tube Defects

Nutrition & Food Science , Volume 92 (1): 1 – Jan 1, 1992

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Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0034-6659
DOI
10.1108/eb059359
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Abstract

NUTRITION & FOOD SCIENCE Folic Acid and Neural Tube Defects Scientists have long suspected that FOLIC ACID deficiencies of folic acid may contribute to Folic acid belongs to the B group of defects such as spina bifida and vitamins. It has a number of biologically hydrocephalus, both known as neural tube active derivatives or related compounds in defects. Twenty-five years ago it was food so the naturally occurring vitamin is suggested that deficiency of folic acid, one of usually collectively referred to as "folate". the B vitamins, might be the culprit. Now it Folate has an important function in DNA has been proved. synthesis and consequently in cell division. It was a difficult piece of research to Foods which contain folate include leafy perform. To be scientifically valid, scientists vegetables such as sprouts and spinach, other needed volunteer women who had already vegetables such as potatoes, peas, beans and had a baby with a neural tube defect because tomatoes, fruit, especially oranges, bananas, their risk of having another defective baby melon and avocado, yeast extract and was ten times greater than average. They had breakfast cereals fortified with folate. to be willing to accept a supply of tablets Food preparation can cause losses of the that might contain vitamins or might just be vitamin which may be destroyed by a placebo. prolonged heating and, for example, by As with all randomized double blind trials canning. Good sources of folate which do the participants were randomly assigned to not require cooking are Marmite yeast receive different tablets and the type of tablet extract, lettuce, watercress and coleslaw. Nuts, was kept secret from the women and their wholegrain cereals and wholemeal bread can doctors until the trial was completed. The also contribute significant amounts of folate results, published in the Lancet[l], came from to the diet. research on 1,195 women seen at 33 centres in seven countries. At around the time of conception each was given one of four types of pill: a dummy pill, folic acid, a multivitamin or multivitamin plus folic acid. References Most of the women gave birth to healthy 1. MRC Vitamin Study Research Group, babies but there were 27 babies with neural "Prevention of Neural Tube Defects: Results of tube defects, though the expected number the Medical Research Council Vitamin Study", was between 40 and 45. Of these 27, only six Lancet, Vol. 338, 1991, pp. 131-7. were to women given folic acid regardless of 2. Smithells, R.W., Sheppard, S. and Schorah, whether they had multivitamins or not. This G.J. et al., "Possible Prevention of Neural Tube clearly shows that folic acid offers protection Defects by Periconceptional Vitamin but that other vitamins did not. Supplementation", Lancet, Vol. 1, 1980, pp. Intervention studies in Leeds indicated that 339-40. periconceptional use of antenatal multivitamin tablets containing folic acid 3. Smithells, R.W., Sneller, M.J., Harris, R. et al., could reduce the risk of neural tube defects "Further Experiences of Vitamin in babies born to women who had had a Supplementation for Prevention of Neural Tube previously affected pregnancy[2,3]. Defect Recurrences", Lancet, Vol. 1, 1983, pp. Another study in South Wales indicated 1027-31. that folic acid alone could also reduce the 4. Laurence, K.M., James, N., Miller, M.H. et al., risk of recurrence of NTD when given "Double Blind Randomised Controlled Trial of around the time of conception[4]. Folate Treatment before Conception to Prevent Recurrence of Neural Tube Defects", British Nutrition & Food Science. Vol. 23 No. 1, 1992, p. 24, © MCB University Press, 0034-6659. Medical Journal, Vol. 282, 1981, pp. 1509-11.

Journal

Nutrition & Food ScienceEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 1992

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