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Nutrients. 2013 Nov 21;5(11):4760-75. doi: 10.3390/nu5114760.

Folate deficiency and folic acid supplementation: the prevention of neural-tube defects and congenital heart defects.

Author information

1
Foundation for the Community Control of Hereditary Diseases, Torokvesz lejto 32, Budapest 1026, Hungary. czeizel@interware.hu.

Abstract

Diet, particularly vitamin deficiency, is associated with the risk of birth defects. The aim of this review paper is to show the characteristics of common and severe neural-tube defects together with congenital heart defects (CHD) as vitamin deficiencies play a role in their origin. The findings of the Hungarian intervention (randomized double-blind and cohort controlled) trials indicated that periconceptional folic acid (FA)-containing multivitamin supplementation prevented the major proportion (about 90%) of neural-tube defects (NTD) as well as a certain proportion (about 40%) of congenital heart defects. Finally the benefits and drawbacks of three main practical applications of folic acid/multivitamin treatment such as (i) dietary intake; (ii) periconceptional supplementation; and (iii) flour fortification are discussed. The conclusion arrived at is indeed confirmation of Benjamin Franklin's statement: "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of care".

PMID:
24284617
PMCID:
PMC3847759
DOI:
10.3390/nu5114760
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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