(NaturalNews) University of Copenhagen scientists have found that maternal vitamin C deficiency can have significant effects on the baby's brain development, which cannot be corrected with after birth vitamin C supplementation. This new research brings further evidence that the mother's diet is crucial in shaping the health of her offspring.
Vitamin C plays an important role in fetal brain development
"Even marginal vitamin C deficiency in the mother stunts the fetal hippocampus, the important memory center, by 10-15 percent, preventing the brain from optimal development," explained one of the scientists involved in the research. While far from trying to cause panic among future parents, the Danish science team believes that their study provides a great opportunity to help raise awareness about the importance of adequate maternal dieting.
Scientists had previously believed that mothers could somehow protect their unborn babies through a mechanism which enabled the transport of certain substances, including vitamin C. Unfortunately, the latest study shows that this mechanism is insufficient if the mother's diet does not provide high enough amounts of vitamin C.
Vitamin C plays multiple roles in the health of adults as well. It is required to form collagen, a protein found in skin, connective tissue and blood vessels. Vitamin C also boosts immunity and helps repair tissue damage.
How to improve vitamin C intake
Vitamin C is not only found in citrus fruits, but in numerous other fruits and vegetables as well. In fact, the highest content of vitamin C can be found in red peppers and guavas. A serving of 100 grams of red peppers can provide 242 mg of vitamin C, while guavas contain 377 mg per serving. Dark, leafy greens, like kale, spinach and garden cress, are also high in vitamin C. Raw kale boasts 120 mg of vitamin C per serving, and garden cress provides 69 mg per 100 grams. Other notable sources of vitamin C include berries, kiwis, papayas, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
The key to optimal health is not only in ingesting a lot of vitamin C, but also in absorbing it and retaining vitamin C. Smoking and alcohol consumption are known to deplete the body's vitamin C reserves, while dividing your vitamin C intake into smaller, regular doses (for example, by consuming a varied assortment of raw vegetables at every meal) will vastly improve absorption. Consuming a lot of vitamin C at once can irritate the bowel, so it is usually recommended to maintain a steady intake throughout the day. Other substances such as synthetic medication, contraceptives, antibiotics, antidepressants and steroids also usually interfere with vitamin and mineral absorption, including that of vitamin C.
While the average recommended dosage of vitamin C for an adult is around 1000 IU, pregnant women may need about four times as much, according to a 2010 study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Canada.
About the author: Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general.