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Reducing the Risk of Spina Bifida
A variety of studies have documented linkages between socio-economic status, diet, and the incidence of spina bifida. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and beans are known to reduce the risk of spina bifida, but relatively few studies have explored the role of nutrients beyond proteins, B vitamins, especially folate, and vitamin C. Dutch researchers carried out a case-control study of mothers and children born with spina bifida. They show that reduced intakes of iron, magnesium, and niacin also increase the risk of spina bifida.
In a review of studies comparing the vitamin and mineral content of organic and conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, Worthington reports that magnesium levels in 13 fruits and vegetables tested by USDA fell 21 percent between 1963 and 1992, while iron levels fell 32 percent. In addition, organically produced fruits and vegetables contain, on average, 29 percent higher levels of magnesium compared to conventional foods (across 112 comparisons in 17 studies), and 21 percent more iron (83 comparisons across 16 studies). Accordingly, consumption of organic fruits and vegetables with generally higher concentrations of iron and magnesium might contribute to a reduction in risk for this nutrition-sensitive birth defect.
Sources: "Low Maternal Dietary Intakes of Iron, Magnesium, and Niacin Are Associated with Spina Bifida in the Offspring"
Authors: Pascal Groenen, Iris van Rooij, Petrenella Peer, Marga Ocke, Gerhard Zielhuis, Regine Steegers-Theunissen
The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 134, No. 6, June 2004
"Nutritional Quality of Organic Versus Conventional ruits, Vegetables, and Grains"
Author: Virginia Worthington
Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, Volume 7, No. 2, 2001