Around one in six pregnancies results in spontaneous abortion. Although there can be different reasons for this, scientists have found that eating a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, fish, shellfish, eggs, and grains can lower the risk by over 50 percent. This was shown in a meta-analysis from the University of Birmingham in England. Earlier research shows that selenium, a trace element that many people are deficient in, plays a particularly important role.
- and the upper safe limit makes no sense
There really is no need to have an upper safe intake limit for folic acid, and we ought to enrich flour with this nutrient to prevent children from being born with potentially disabling or life-threatening brain or spinal cord defects. This is part of the conclusion of a new study from Queen Mary University of London, and it supports an earlier study from Aarhus University in Denmark. Folic acid deficiencies, which are rather common, may lead to fatigue, poor memory, dementia, and a number of other health problems later in life. It is therefore important that we focus on this essential nutrient.
Vitamin B12 is important for the development of the brain, and young children with low levels of the nutrient are challenged when it comes to solving cognitive tests such as puzzles, letter recognition, and the ability to understand the feelings of other children. Vitamin B12-deficient children are therefore more vulnerable and generally have a more difficult start in life. Researchers have demonstrated this in a study that is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The need for the trace element selenium is increased in pregnant and breastfeeding women because it supports a host of different proteins that are particularly important for tissue growth. Also, selenium supports different antioxidants that protect the unborn baby’s organs and tissues. A new review article published in Nutrients shows that lack of selenium during pregnancy may result in oxidative stress, stunted growth, and low birth weight. This may eventually have consequences for the baby’s development, cognitive skills, and health in general. The authors also mention that an expecting mother’s alcohol abuse may have a more negative health impact if she is selenium-deficient. It is a problem that selenium deficiency is such a widespread problem in Europe and other parts of the world.
Asthma is the leading disease among children and adolescents in the Western world, and the rate has been going up for the past 20 years. A new Danish study that is published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that pregnant women who take supplements of fish oil are much less likely to give birth to children that develop asthma later on. The question is how much fish oil it takes to obtain the positive effect.
According to two clinical studies, daily supplementation with the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is found in fish oil, may prevent thousands of premature deliveries – before the 34th week of pregnancy. In addition, both mother and child may have other befits from the active compounds in fish oil.
The most common term for this nutrient is folic acid, whereas vitamin B9 is hardly ever used. Folic acid is the synthetic form that is found in vitamin pills, while folate and folacin are the forms of the nutrient that are found naturally in food. Folic acid is very stable and gets converted into folate in the body. The vitamin is water-soluble. Most of it gets stored in the liver, which contains around half the body's total amount of folate. The nutrient is destroyed by boiling and heating.
The number of children diagnosed with autism has increased steadily over the past decades, and a number of factors can cause the disease. Now, scientists from the University of California and other institutions in the United States have discovered that pregnant women who get the recommended amount of folic acid or increase their intake right around the time of conception have a lower risk of giving birth to a child that develops autism caused by pesticide exposure.
Folic acid plays a role in tissue growth and fetal development during pregnancy. A new study that was presented at an annual congress for British psychologists in Brighton shows that folic acid supplements may even improve the child’s psychological development. This is vital for the child’s ability to handle his or her own feelings and managing socially.
- for pregnant women and others
Folic acid supplements are typically recommended to people with anemia and to expecting mothers. However, folic acid supplements can also be important for the cardiovascular system, the brain and memory, and for preventing stroke. The widespread lack of this nutrient is a result of poor diets, pregnancy, ageing, alcohol abuse, and the consumption of birth control pills and various types of medicine.
- but dietary and lifestyle changes make a difference
Approximately one in seven couple is childless. Although there can be many underlying causes, poor sperm quality is an increasing problem. It may be caused by a lack of certain nutrients and exposure to different environmental factors, but, fortunately, it possible to improve sperm quality and increase the chances of conception by means of relevant dietary adjustments and the use of specific supplements. New research shows that epigenetic factors (factors that affect the environment of the sperm cell) determine sperm health and are therefore crucial for activating the genes of the sperm cell so the fetus can develop.
An international team of researchers has just completed a huge study of the possible link between maternal DNA, selenium deficiency, and preterm labor. Earlier studies have shown that women with low blood selenium have an increased risk of preterm birth and that selenium supplementation may lower that risk. A problem in that respect is that climate changes and soil depletion may increase the risk of selenium deficiencies, especially in Europe.
A groundbreaking new Australian study shows that something as simple as a vitamin B3 supplement can prevent miscarriages and congenital defects of the heart and other organs. This is because the nutrient is involved in the body’s production of NAD, a molecule of vital importance to fetal development. Because vitamin B3 deficiencies are common, it is important to have increased focus on the vitamin, especially in connection with pregnancy.
In May 2017, new data linking vitamin D and fertility was presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology (ECE) in Lisbon. The new findings contribute to our understanding of vitamin D’s impact on male testosterone levels and of our knowledge about whether vitamin D supplements may actually improve fertility in both sexes. Involuntary infertility, a widespread problem, may be a result of many factors, but if the reason is a vitamin D deficiency, it is easy to treat with increased exposure to sunlight and the use of supplements to keep vitamin D levels optimal all year round.