Prenatal multivitamin may lower child cancer risk

February 22, 2007 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Prenatal multivitamin may lower child cancer risk

According to Canadian researchers from the University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario and The Hospital for Sick Children, a daily multivitamin fortified with folic acid before and during pregnancy may reduce the risk of three common forms of childhood cancer in offspring; leukemia, brain tumors and neuroblastoma.

The study, a meta-analysis, found that supplementation of multivitamins with folic acid before and during pregnancy was associated with a 39 lower risk for leukemia, 27 percent lower risk for brain tumours and a 47 lower risk for neuroblastoma in children.

This is the first systemic review of its kind to examine the effects of prenatal multivitamin use before and during pregnancy and its protective effect for several pediatric cancers.

Currently, women are recommended to take a folic acid supplement before and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

The findings, published in the journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, did not examine which component of the multivitamin was responsible for the protective effect.

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