Cleft Lip :: Folic acid prevents cleft lip
Folic acid and folic acid supplements in early pregnancy substantially reduce the risk of cleft lip, revealed by researchers in Norway.
Cleft lip is a congenital facial deformity of the lip, usually the upper lip, due to a mesodermal deficiency or to a failure of merging in one or more of the embryologic processes that form the lip; it is frequently associated with cleft tooth socket and cleft palate. Also called cheiloschisis, harelip.
Researchers identified infants born from 1996 to 2000; 377 with cleft lip (with or without cleft palate), 196 with cleft palate only, and 763 healthy controls. All mothers were surveyed about their reproductive history, smoking, alcohol, drugs, and other exposures during early pregnancy. They were also asked to recall their diet during the first three months of pregnancy, whether they took folic acid supplements and, if so, when and how often they took them.
Women were asked similar questions about multivitamins, and the researchers then estimated each woman’s total folic acid intake. After adjusting for smoking and other confounding factors, they found that folic acid supplementation of 400?g or more a day reduced the risk of cleft lip with or without cleft palate by 40%.
Independent of supplements, diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and other high folate containing foods reduced the risk by 25%. The lowest risk of cleft lip was among women with folate rich diets who also took folic acid supplements and multivitamins.