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Sugar Increases Birth Defect Risks

Obstetricians are ever so fond of making sure that pregnant women get their precious synthetic prenatal vitamins. The primary reason is to ensure that pregnant women are receiving enough folic acid, which has been shown to prevent neural tube birth defects. However, a study earlier this year showed that prenatal vitamins are probably unnecessary. It is far more important to consume a healthy diet that is full of the micronutrients that will produce high level health.

Recently researchers compared the diet of nearly 500 mothers of children with neural tube defects like spina bifida, with mothers who had healthy babies. They found the risk of defects doubled in women who ate lots of foods that give a quick sugar hit--and among obese women it quadrupled. Scientists believe that the sudden release of large amounts of glucose may interfere with the development of babies in the womb--in particular the formation of the tube of bone around the spinal column.

This is yet one more major benefit of optimizing insulin levels. So if you are pregnant, or know someone who is, you would really serve them well by advising them to limit their sugar intake as much as possible. While you are at it, please also mention that they should be on at least one teaspoon of cod liver oil if they plan on having smart children or avoiding premature deliveries.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition November 2003 Vol. 78, No. 5, 972-978

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