In Summer of 2018, my family and I suffered a devastating blow as we walked through a pregnancy with a Neural Tube Defect which resulted in a stillbirth. While we look forward to the day when we see her again, the pain this caused led me to further research into pregnancy and birth defects.
Sadly the research available and the common recommendations from doctors do not match up.
More information will come in the future but here are some bullet point areas to consider regarding maternal health, vitamin, and nutrient intake during pregnancy.
NOTE: THIS PAGE IS NOT COMPLETE AND IT IS CURRENTLY A WORK IN PROGRESS. Please forgive any missing citation, proper grammar, poor sentence structure or difficult to understand data.
Email me if you have any questions or need help.
Neural Tube Defects
Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) are one of the most common birth defects experienced by pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. Unfortunately, depending on the geographic region between 43-80% of these pregnancies end in a “therapeutic” abortion.
Current common medical knowledge says:
“Make sure the women takes a prenatal vitamin and at least 800mcg of Folic Acid (or folate)”
However, there is still a great number of women who experience a pregnancy with a Neural Tube Defect or who experience multiple repeats NTDs.
For some reason doctors believe increasing Folic Acid from 800mcg to 4000mcg will help. However, this only has shown marginal benefits and in some cases can actually cause other birth defects or in some instance has been linked to an increased risk of the child developing Autism Spectrum Disorder. (more on this is found below)
However, when you expand the scope of possibilities there are a number of other things to consider to GREATLY reduce Neural Tube Defects and general birth defects.
Causes and deficiencies are listed first as they can be easily corrected in most cases through supplementation. Following that the next section is prevention, focusing more on supplements that can prevent naturally occurring or stress induced defects.
Vitamins and Supplements
Dietary and Nutritional Deficiencies
Multiple studies from California, Iran, India, and China all have proved a significant link between a Zinc deficiency and Neural Tube Defects.
B3 (Niacin, Niacinamide, NR, NMN)
Infections & Illness
- Maternal Fever
- H. Pylori
- Toxoplasma Gondii
- T. Solium
- Parasitic Worms
Maternal Diet and Other Health Aspects
Poor dietary intake
- Cause micro and macro-nutrient insufficiency
- Insufficiency protein intake impairs the baby’s ability to form cells
Limited carbohydrate intake
- Limited carbohydrate intake can cause a gastrointestinal disturbance in both mother and baby
Acidosis (metabolic or diabetic)
- Any acidosis is teratogenic to baby development
- due to the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis
- over-abundance of glucose impairing neurogenesis
- due to the risk of metabolic ketoacidosis
- insufficient glucose impairs neurogenesis especially due to the teratogenic effect of glucose insufficiency.
- MAP lower than 75 cause insufficient placental profusion of blood to the placenta and baby.
- Consequential lower placental blood can cause fetal hypoxia
- MTHFR Mutation
- MTHFD Mutation
- Sonic HedgeHog Protein Enzyme Mutation
Limited Folate Intake
- Limit folate intake to 2mg / day.
- Initial reports of 4mg / day were based on faulty trials in 1991 and have since been proven to provide very little benefit and can actually cause MUCH greater harm.
- Greater harm occurs through
- Potential masking of B12 deficiency or B12 anemia
- Excess folate can build up in bloodstream and potentially displace other nutrients
- Increased risks for other birth defects including:
(these risks are ONLY observation and definitive causation has not yet been proven)
- Cardiovascular issues
- Mental handicaps
- Cleft pallet
- Minor visual disturbances
- Improves folate availability especially if MTHFR gene is present
- Prevents oxidative stress due to DNA
- Improve glucose metabolism
- Prevents hyperglycemia as it has been used in diabetics as a natural supplement to aid in glucose regulation and insulin secretion
- At least slightly in excess of the amount required for cell development
- Prevents damage via attenuating p.53 cell oxidation pathway
- This pathway occurs directly after DNA methylation has occurred (or DNA has been copied to form new cells)
- Normally once the DNA is formed is can be damaged through oxidation before it begins to multiply
- Zinc prevents the oxidative damage that occurs at this p53 pathway
- Methionine is THE principal methyl donor for the DNA methylation process.
- Low homocysteine can indicate low methylation
- IF Homocysteine is at or near 4.0 than methylation = 0.
- Ideal homocysteine of 4.4-4.6 or higher is ideal, however obviously high homocysteine should be avoided.
- Insufficient levels of glutathione can prevent maternal clearance of infections and pathogenic materials
- Thus leading to potential adverse affects of any pathogenic of infectious materials