Folate May Prevent Alcohol-related Defects

TAMPA, Fla., May 26 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say folate prevented alcohol-induced congenital heart defects in mice.

Alcohol-induced birth defects make up the disorder fetal alcohol syndrome.

Principal investigator Kersti Linask of the University of South Florida College of Medicine and All Children’s Hospital say high levels of the B vitamin taken early in pregnancy helped protect the developing heart in mice. However, the researchers say the protection was best administered early in the pregnancy before alcohol exposure.

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, finds the dose of folate most protective against heart damage was considerably higher than the equivalent of current dietary recommendations.

Linask suggests the study may have implications for re-evaluating folate supplementation levels during early pregnancy.

“We found that we could prevent alcohol-associated defects from arising in the mice — provided folate was given in relatively high concentrations very early in pregnancy around conception,” Linask says in a statement.

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