The survival rate of children born with birth defects is improved by incorporation of folic acid in the diet, a new study has found . It has been known that folic acid supplementation during pregnancy can reduce the incidence of neurological birth defects such as spina bifida, anencephaly etc.
The researchers analyzed the effect of consumption of folic acid fortified grains on nearly 2,800 children born with spina bifida between the year 1998 and 2001. 92% of the study participants survived the first one year of life. Folic acid was added to the grains, for fortification, before 1998.
'Folic acid may play a role in restricting the severity of neural tube defects in addition to preventing the occurrence (of them),' remarked a senior researcher involved in the study. The study has been conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The result of this study can be found in the latest issue of Pediatrics, a journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Folic acid belongs to the class of vitamins commonly referred to as the Vitamin B-complex. Green leafy vegetables and fruits represent some of the richest sources of folic acid. Folic acid supplementation is indicated in pregnant women with history of abortions, stillbirths and neural tube defects in previous child.
Following the promising results of this study, which provide a new ray of hope for children with neural tube defects, it has been proposed to increase the level of folic acid fortification (to nearly double the existing level) in the Unites States.
The result of this study highlight the fact that although there has been a considerable decrease in the incidence of spina bifida, a lot of children still develop the condition as there is not enough folic acid in the enriched grains. Perhaps if we are able to arrive at an optimal level, the incidence of neural tube defects can be decreased further.