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Vitamin A test could prevent birth defects, study finds

Category: Female Specific Tests

In addition to the battery of standard tests associated with pregnancy, pregnant women may want to consider adding a vitamin A test to the list, as recent research suggests that the nutrient is vital to the development of many organs in unborn children.

Lungs are the primary organs to suffer from vitamin A deficiency. The research team from Boston University found that the vitamin is crucial during pregnancy, as it acts as a regulator for chemicals responsible for starting and stopping the lung development process.

Too little vitamin A, and the process is never told to start, resulting in underdeveloped lungs, researchers said.

"The clinical relevance of [vitamin A deficiency] cannot be overlooked, as it represents the third most common nutritional deficiency in the world, being found in a large population of women of child-bearing age in developing countries," said lead researcher Wellington Cardoso.

The team found that vitamin A deficiency in pregnant women can lead to other birth defects, such as malformation of the esophagus.

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