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Concurrent Session: Should prenatal supplement content for Canadian pregnant women be revisited?

Saturday, May 7, 2016
10:45am - 12:00pm


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Learning objective:

To raise awareness about current status of key nutrients for healthy pregnancy outcomes, specifically folate, vitamin B12, B6 and choline, among pregnant women in Canada.
There is growing evidence from Canadian pregnancy cohorts suggesting that the intake and biochemical status of one-carbon nutrients (e.g. folate, vitamin B12, B6 and choline) may be inappropriate. While most women not taking prenatal supplements are at increased risk of low intake of one-carbon nutrients, those consuming commonly sold supplements may not achieve an adequate intake for some nutrients, including a supraphysiologic intake of folic acid. While research on high vitamin intake in animals would suggest caution, evidence of long term health consequences in humans is scant. This symposium will focus on recent research on folate, vitamin B12, B6 as well as choline status in Canadian pregnancy cohorts and selected animal models. The industry perspective on how recent findings might impact formulation of prenatal supplement content for Canadian pregnant women will be discussed.

Vitamin B12 and B6 status in Canadian women of reproductive age. Impact on health outcomes and biomarker challenges
Dr. Yvonne Lamers

Folate and choline intakes of Canadian women of reproductive age. Impact on programming and health outcomes of offspring
Dr. Deborah O'Connor

Identifying the patterns of dietary methyl donor intake during pregnancy
Meghan McGee (Abstract Presentation)

The maternal diet is the main source of nutrients supplied to the foetus and principal source of methyl groups (CH3), which are essential for DNA methylation. Maternal consumption of dietary methyl donors (DMDs) such as folate, methionine, choline, and co-factors, zinc, vitamins B2, B6 and B12, can lead to permanent, heritable alterations in the DNA and gene expression of the developing foetus. The aim of this study was to identify patterns of DMD intake during the second trimester of pregnancy in a subsample of participants (n = 1,332) from the 3D (Découvrir, Développer, Devenir) study. From food sources alone, most pregnant women met the recommended intakes for vitamin B2 (98%), vitamin B6 (71%), vitamin B12 (96%) and zinc (76%), but most women were below the estimated requirements for folate (DFE) (69%) and choline (99%). Folate and choline are important for normal foetal development and significant proportions of the population consumed diets low in one or both of these nutrients. Canadian-born women were 48% (OR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.11, 1.96) more likely to consume adequate amounts of DFE, 68% (OR: 1.68; 95% CI: 1.28, 2.20) more likely to consume adequate amounts of vitamin B6 and twice as likely (OR: 2.07; 95% CI: 1.57, 2.74) to consume adequate amounts of zinc. Principal Components Analysis showed that all DMDs together explained 59% of the total variance. All variables were highly correlated (r > 0.75) with the factor although slightly less for DFE (r = 0.50). These findings suggest that identifying patterns of maternal DMD intake from food may be important to ensure optimal DMD intake during pregnancy.



Dr. Yvonne Lamers

Canada Research Chair in Human Nutrition and Vitamin Metabolism, The University of British Columbia

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