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July 19, 2005

Pregnant women warned of vitamin A risk to fetuses

Topics: Medicine

EXPECTANT mothers who take multi-vitamin supplements could be causing handicaps in their unborn children, according to a study by Trading Standards watchdogs and the charity BDF (Birth Defects Foundation) Newlife. The study found that a third of multi-vitamin suppliers do not label their products with warnings that they contain vitamin A, which can damage fetuses.

(...) Vitamin A is a "teratogen", which damages cells in foetuses, leading to the developments of conditions such as spina bifida, hydrocephalus and urinary tract malformations. The damage is usually done in the first few days or weeks of a pregnancy.

(...) Our big message to women of child-bearing age is to look at the packet and to avoid vitamin A like the plague. Lots of products do not have warnings and they should have."

However, the study is a little misleading, because the "Trading Standards" watchdogs aren't reporting the whole story. Vitamin A IS important during pregnancy, and the amount of vitamin A in prenatal vitamins (5000 IU/day) has not been associated with teratogenic risk, but doses > 10,000 IU/day increase the risk. So if you're pregnant, be sure to only take a PRENATAL vitamin labeled as providing no more than 5000 IU/day at the recommended dosage, and take no more than the recommended dosage.

Posted by Hyscience at July 19, 2005 11:01 PM

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