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Inositol may prevent neural tube defects in babies when partnered with folic acid supplementation

A study from the University College London found that neural tube defects can be prevented by taking both inositol and folic acid supplements. This finding, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, was based on the results of a pilot clinical trial.

  • Neural tube defects can be prevented by taking folic acid supplements before conception until the early stages of pregnancy. However, some cases of this condition are non-responsive to the supplement.
  • Previous studies have shown that rodent embryos suffer from neural tube defects due to inositol deficiency. Additionally, supplementation of this nutrient effectively reduced the occurrence of neural tube defects in mice that were non-responsive to folic acid.
  • In this study, the researchers wanted to determine if inositol can provide further protection against neural tube defects when used alongside folic acid supplements in humans.
  • To do this, they recruited participants who had neural tube defect-affected pregnancies and were planning to become pregnant again. The women were divided into two groups, with the first group receiving placebo and folic acid while the other was supplemented with inositol and folic acid.
  • As part of the study, the researchers also collected information from women who took supplements but did not agree to be part of the randomized trial.
  • The results of this study showed that there were no cases of neural tube defects in women who received inositol supplements.
  • One case of neural tube defect was observed in the randomized trials that were supplemented with folic acid and placebo. Meanwhile, two out of the three non-randomized pregnancies that were supplemented with folic acid alone developed neural tube defects.

Overall, these results suggest that supplementing with both inositol and folic acid can prevent neural tube defects.

The full text of the study is available at this link.

If you’d like to read more news articles on the benefits of taking supplements, visit

Journal Reference:

Greene NDE, Leung K-Y, Gay V, Burren K, Mills K, Chitty LS, Copp AJ. INOSITOL FOR THE PREVENTION OF NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS: A PILOT RANDOMISED CONTROLLED TRIAL. British Journal of Nutrition. 5 February 2016;115(06). DOI: 10.1017/s0007114515005322

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