Pregnancy: B vitamins would reduce the harmful effects of alcohol
Science has known for quite some time that alcohol consumption can be dangerous to the fetus at all stages of pregnancy.
Adding certain nutrients to the diet could help lessen the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption during the first days of pregnancy, suggests a study published by Montreal researchers.
However, it should not be concluded that women trying to get pregnant can drink at will as long as they include these nutrients in their diet, said Serge McGraw, who is a researcher in epigenetics and specialist in biology of the reproduction at the CHU Sainte-Justine.
The main goal is to have a preventive message, for example for women who have [food] deficiencies and who are trying to become pregnant, he said. The message is not "I can take vitamins before drinking and it will prevent problems".
Science has known for quite some time that alcohol consumption can be perilous to the fetus at all stages of pregnancy. Consequences will range from mild to severe and may include birth defects, growth retardation during pregnancy, and emotional and behavioral problems related to brain development.
It is estimated, in America du Nord, that approximately 1% of children suffer from the effects of exposure to alcohol in the womb.
However, little is known about the effect of alcohol on the fetus during the first days of pregnancy, before it is implanted in the uterus and even before that the woman does not know that she is pregnant.
Professor McGraw and his colleagues wanted to know whether adding nutrients such as #x27;folic acid, vitamin B12, choline and betaine have a protective effect on mouse embryos exposed to high doses of alcohol.
These nutrients, he explained, play a prominent role in controlling gene expression.
A good example is folic acid deficiency which will lead to problems with neural tube development, McGraw said. This is why in Canada and in many countries folic acid is added [to foods].
The researchers found that the pups born to the females who had benefited from this special diet had three times fewer morphological defects, for example with regard to the size of their skull.
L& #x27;beneficial impact was much more modest on stunting, however, possibly due to the effect of alcohol on the placenta.
Scientists will now try to check whether these babies also have fewer developmental or behavioral problems than the others, in particular by comparing the mice from the same litter.
For example, do the baby mice born with low weight or brain development issues will have cognition problems? illustrated Mr. McGraw. With this diet, will we have been able to reduce the impacts at the cognitive level?
The results of this study were recently published in The FASEB journal, the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.