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Nutrients 2013, 5(11), 4760-4775; doi:10.3390/nu5114760
Review

Folate Deficiency and Folic Acid Supplementation: The Prevention of Neural-Tube Defects and Congenital Heart Defects

1,* , 1
,
2
 and
3
1 Foundation for the Community Control of Hereditary Diseases, Torokvesz lejto 32, Budapest 1026, Hungary 2 Versys Clinics, Human Reproduction Institute, Madarasz utca 47-49, Budapest 1138, Hungary 3 Second Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Ulloi ut 78/a, Budapest 1082, Hungary
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 October 2013 / Revised: 2 November 2013 / Accepted: 5 November 2013 / Published: 21 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Folate Metabolism and Nutrition)
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Abstract

Diet, particularly vitamin deficiency, is associated with the risk of birth defects. The aim of this review paper is to show the characteristics of common and severe neural-tube defects together with congenital heart defects (CHD) as vitamin deficiencies play a role in their origin. The findings of the Hungarian intervention (randomized double-blind and cohort controlled) trials indicated that periconceptional folic acid (FA)-containing multivitamin supplementation prevented the major proportion (about 90%) of neural-tube defects (NTD) as well as a certain proportion (about 40%) of congenital heart defects. Finally the benefits and drawbacks of three main practical applications of folic acid/multivitamin treatment such as (i) dietary intake; (ii) periconceptional supplementation; and (iii) flour fortification are discussed. The conclusion arrived at is indeed confirmation of Benjamin Franklin’s statement: “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of care”.
Keywords: neural-tube defects; congenital heart defects; folic acid; multivitamins; primary prevention neural-tube defects; congenital heart defects; folic acid; multivitamins; primary prevention
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Czeizel, A.E.; Dudás, I.; Vereczkey, A.; Bánhidy, F. Folate Deficiency and Folic Acid Supplementation: The Prevention of Neural-Tube Defects and Congenital Heart Defects. Nutrients 2013, 5, 4760-4775.

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