Expectant moms may prevent neural tube defects in their babies by supplementing with inositol plus folic acid

Mothers only want what’s best for their children. Many of them start taking supplements during their pregnancy — even prior to it — to ensure that their child is born as healthy as possible. Folic acid supplements are essential for preventing neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. This severe congenital malformation affects up to two out of 1,000 pregnancies in the world. Unfortunately, recent reports have shown that some cases of neural tube defects are non-responsive to folic acid. Because of this, new therapies for preventing this birth defect are needed.

In a study by researchers from the University College London (UCL), they found that supplementing with both inositol and folic acid can prevent neural tube defects in infants. Prior to this, there is already evidence of inositol’s importance in the development of this congenital malformation in animal models. Rodent embryos were shown to develop neural tube defects due to a deficiency in this vitamin-like substance. Moreover, inositol supplementation in mice that were non-responsive to folic acid was able to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects.

In this study, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the researchers wanted to determine if inositol had added benefits against neural tube defects when taken with folic acid. To do this, they recruited participants who have had neural tube defect-affected pregnancies and were planning to become pregnant again. They then conducted a randomized controlled trial where they divided the women into two groups. One group received both inositol and folic acid supplements while the other group took a placebo and folic acid. Another part of the study involved participants who did not agree to be part of the randomized trial but still took supplements.

The results of the study showed that all participants who received inositol supplements gave birth to children without neural tube defects. They also observed that inositol has no adverse effects on the mother or babies. On the other hand, there were neural tube defect-affected pregnancies in those who only took folic acid supplements. One case of neural tube defect was observed in the randomized trials for the folic acid and placebo group. Meanwhile, two out of the three non-randomized pregnancies that were supplemented with folic acid alone led to neural tube defects.

From these results, the researchers concluded that inositol has potential use as a novel therapy against folic acid non-responsive neural tube defects. This is especially true for women who have given birth to children with these conditions.

More reasons to take inositol supplements

Inositol is a vitamin-like substance that is involved in many bodily processes. It has been associated with many health benefits, which include:

  • Supporting mental health — Inositol plays a pivotal role in the production of brain chemicals like serotonin. This molecule has significant impacts on a person’s mood and behavior. By supplementing with inositol, you can improve symptoms of mood disorders associated with serotonin, including anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. (Related: From OCD to depression to anxiety, learn how inositol can prevent many mental health disorders.)
  • Reducing blood sugar levels — People who suffer from insulin resistance can take inositol supplements to improve their blood sugar levels. This molecule plays a role in insulin signaling and has proven itself to be effective in patients with metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Improving fertility — Women with PCOS often suffer from reduced fertility. Taking inositol helps them improve their menstrual cycle regularity, ovulation, and pregnancy rates.

Read more news articles on the benefits of taking supplements by visiting SupplementsReport.com.

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