According to researchers at the University of Toronto, pregnant women with low levels of vitamin B12 are at an increased risk of having babies with neural tube defects.
Researchers studied more than 500 pregnant women in Ontario and found the risk of neural tube defects tripled when mothers had low levels of vitamin B12.
This latest study published in the journal Epidemiology is the first comprehensive study of its kind to fully examine the link between neural tube defects and vitamin B12, while adjusting for folate levels.
Neural tube defects are most commonly associated with a folate deficiency. As a result, food stuffs including flour are currently fortified with the nutrient. In fact, neural tube defects can be reduced by as much as 50 percent with folic acid supplementation just before conception .
Researchers suspect that as much as 34 percent of neural tube defects may be due to low levels of vitamin B12.
Animal products are the primary source of vitamin B12, including eggs, liver and tuna.
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