In a study by researchers from the University College London (UCL), they found that supplementing with both inositol and folic acid can prevent neural tube defects in infants. Prior to this, there is already evidence of inositol's importance in the development of this congenital malformation in animal models. Rodent embryos were shown to develop neural tube defects due to a deficiency in this vitamin-like substance. Moreover, inositol supplementation in mice that were non-responsive to folic acid was able to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects.
In this study, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the researchers wanted to determine if inositol had added benefits against neural tube defects when taken with folic acid. To do this, they recruited participants who have had neural tube defect-affected pregnancies and were planning to become pregnant again. They then conducted a randomized controlled trial where they divided the women into two groups. One group received both inositol and folic acid supplements while the other group took a placebo and folic acid. Another part of the study involved participants who did not agree to be part of the randomized trial but still took supplements.
The results of the study showed that all participants who received inositol supplements gave birth to children without neural tube defects. They also observed that inositol has no adverse effects on the mother or babies. On the other hand, there were neural tube defect-affected pregnancies in those who only took folic acid supplements. One case of neural tube defect was observed in the randomized trials for the folic acid and placebo group. Meanwhile, two out of the three non-randomized pregnancies that were supplemented with folic acid alone led to neural tube defects.
From these results, the researchers concluded that inositol has potential use as a novel therapy against folic acid non-responsive neural tube defects. This is especially true for women who have given birth to children with these conditions.
Inositol is a vitamin-like substance that is involved in many bodily processes. It has been associated with many health benefits, which include:
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