Tufts university Logo B vitamins now seem to have great importance for pregnant women and their offspring. In a major breakthrough, researchers from the Tufts University found that mice born to mothers bred on a diet supplemented with B vitamins had lower chances of developing colorectal cancer. The study findings suggest that B vitamins also protect the child against neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

With the help of a mouse model of naturally occurring colorectal cancer, scientists examined whether a mothers’ B vitamin intake influences her child’s cancer risk. All mothers were fed diets containing supplemental, adequate or mildly deficient quantities of vitamins B2, B6, B12 and folate prior to conception through weaning. Then their offspring too received the same adequate diet. In the course of the investigation, tumor suppression registered in the offspring of supplemented mothers was associated with a protection against disruptions to the Wnt signaling pathway.

“We saw, by far, the fewest intestinal tumors in the offspring of mothers consuming the supplemented diet. Although the tumor incidence was similar between offspring of deficient and adequate mothers, 54 percent of tumors in the deficient offspring were advanced and had invaded surrounding tissue while only 18 percent of tumors in the offspring of adequate mothers displayed these aggressive properties,” shared Jimmy Crott, PhD, senior researcher and a scientist in the Vitamins and Carcinogenesis Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA.

As of now, scientists are unable to conclude whether maternal consumption of the four B vitamins can impact tumor development in humans as well. However, evidence has been gathered according to which maternal folate has a protective effect in kids. The study apparently have major implications in the health-space.

The research was published online on June 9 in the journal Gut.