top of page
  • Voltaire Staff

Over 90% women trying for baby lack essential nutrients: Study

Image Courtesy: Unsplash

A recent study published by scientists at University of Southampton has claimed that more than 90 per cent of women trying for baby lack essential nutrients such as riboflavin, vitamin B12, or vitamin D.

The study published in PLoS on Tuesday claimed that the situation is likely to get worsen as more women are opting for vegetarian diet.

The study specifically focused on identifying deficiencies in vitamins commonly present in meat and dairy products, including vitamins D, B12, and B6, as well as folic acid and riboflavin.

Folic acid and B12 are crucial for preventing birth defects such as spina bifida. vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining the health of bones, teeth, and muscles. Riboflavin supports the growth of bones, muscles, and nerves in developing babies in the womb.

The findings emphasised the importance of these nutrients for the healthy development of the foetus during pregnancy.

For the study, researchers recruited 1,729 women, all aged between 18 and 38, from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand and split them into two groups: an intervention group consisting of 870 women and a control group with 859 women.

More than 90 per cent of all participants had low or marginal status for one or more of these vitamins at recruitment, researchers said.

Both groups received supplements that included folic acid, iron, calcium, iodine, and beta-carotene.

However, the intervention group's supplement had additional components such as riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc. It also contained myo-inositol and probiotics.

Blood samples were collected at various stages, including before conception, early pregnancy, late pregnancy, and six months after the babies were born.

The researchers observed that the inclusion of additional vitamins in the intervention group's supplement significantly reduced the prevalence of deficiencies both before and during pregnancy, highlighting the positive impact of these supplements on nutritional status.

Professor Keith Godfrey, an epidemiologist and the primary author of the study at the University of Southampton, expressed surprise at the widespread deficiency or marginal status of these micronutrients among the participants.

"For the individual, the simple answer is that unless you’re following a really high-quality diet, you may need to consider taking a supplement," he told Guardian.

Despite general approval from peers, the study, however, has received criticism from certain sections, which pointed out that Prof Keith Godfrey, Dr Wayne Cutfield, and others involved in the study received grants from Nestlé and were co-inventors on patent filings related to the enhanced supplement used in the research.

Godfrey defended the study saying the authors had no financial interest in the patents and asserted that the analysis and paper were produced independently of the company.


bottom of page