Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Folate Deficiency Associated With Higher Early Miscarriage Risk

Date:
October 18, 2002
Source:
NIH/National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development
Summary:
Pregnant women who have low blood levels of the vitamin folate are more likely to have early miscarriages than are pregnant women who have adequate folate levels, according to a study of Swedish women by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Pregnant women who have low blood levels of the vitamin folate are more likely to have early miscarriages than are pregnant women who have adequate folate levels, according to a study of Swedish women by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Related Articles


The finding suggests that a 1998 mandate by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fortify grain products with folic acid (the synthetic form of the vitamin) may prevent miscarriage in some women, in addition to lowering their risk for having a child with a class of birth defects known as neural tube defects (NTDs). NTDs include both spina bifida, in which a piece of the spinal cord protrudes from the spinal column, causing paralysis below the protrusion, and anencephaly, a fatal condition in which the brain fails to develop.

The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers also found that women with high folate levels are no more likely to have early miscarriages than are women with moderate, but adequate, folate levels.

"The results of this study reinforce the importance of folate for women in their childbearing years," said Duane Alexander, M.D., Director of the NICHD. "Not only does taking folic acid before conception prevent the devastating form of birth defects known as neural tube defects, but it also appears to lower the risk of early miscarriage."

Since January 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has required food manufacturers to fortify certain grain products with folic acid, to reduce the risk of NTDs. Also in 1998, the Institute of Medicine recommended that all women of childbearing age receive 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. Folate occurs naturally in beans, leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits.

The study was conducted between 1996 and 1998 in Uppsala County, Sweden by Lena George, M.D., of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and her colleagues. Sweden was considered an ideal country in which to conduct this study because, unlike the United States, its grain supply is not fortified with folic acid, explained the NICHD author of the study, James Mills, M.D., of NICHD's Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research. As a result, the researchers were better able to study the relationship between folate deficiency and miscarriage than they would have been in the United States, where food fortification has vastly reduced the rate of folate deficiency.

The researchers compared 468 women who had an early miscarriage (between six and twelve weeks gestation) to 921 women who were six to twelve weeks pregnant. The women were asked a series of questions about their reproductive and health histories. They also provided blood samples that were used to assess their blood folate levels and smoking status.

The researchers statistically compensated for factors known to influence miscarriage risk and blood folate level, such as maternal age, education, maternal smoking, obesity, number of previous pregnancies, and country of origin. They found that folate deficiency was associated with a fifty percent increase in risk of early miscarriage. They also found that high folate levels were not associated with miscarriage risk. The researchers defined folate deficiency as a blood folate level below 4.9 nmol/L, which is the cut-off for recommending folic acid supplements in Sweden. Women with blood folate levels between 5.0 and 8.9 nmol/L were considered to have adequate folate intakes, while women with folate levels greater than 9.0 nmol/L were considered to have high folate intakes.

Dr. Mills noted, however, American women have higher folate levels than do Swedish women. According to the 1999 CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, the average blood folate level for American women is 16.2 nmol/L.

###

The NICHD is part of the National Institutes of Health, the biomedical research arm of the federal government. The Institute sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. NICHD publications, as well as information about the Institute, are available from the NICHD Web site, http://www.nichd.nih.gov, or from the NICHD Clearinghouse, 1-800-370-2943; E-mail [email protected]


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. "Folate Deficiency Associated With Higher Early Miscarriage Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021018081320.htm>.
NIH/National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. (2002, October 18). Folate Deficiency Associated With Higher Early Miscarriage Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021018081320.htm
NIH/National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. "Folate Deficiency Associated With Higher Early Miscarriage Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021018081320.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins