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Low levels of folic acid during pregnancy may increase emotional health problems in children according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dutch researchers reported that the risk of children having emotional problems was 57% higher in those whose mothers had a folate deficiency.
The same researchers reported in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2009 that children of women who took folic acid supplements during pregnancy were better at internalising and externalising problems.
There has been a huge amount of evidence linking folate deficiency in early pregnancy to an increased risk of neural tube defects (NTD) in infants. This led to the introduction of public health measures in 1998, where all grain products were fortified with folic acid in the USA and Canada. 51 countries now have some degree of mandatory fortification of flour, with other countries also considering fortification measures.
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In natural medicine, artichoke leaves are used to stimulate the kidneys and the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder. It is traditionally classified as a ‘bitter’ and has been used to assist digestion. The major active components are sesquiterpene, lactone, cynarin and Caffeoylquinic acids. Artichoke leaf has been shown to lower cholesterol.
Research has show echinacea has immune stimulating properties, and potent antiseptic and antibiotic actions. It has been shown to increase bodily resistance to infections, viruses and diseases, increasing white blood cells. This makes it an excellent treatment for fighting colds and flu.
Green tea contains Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant - at least 100 more times more effective than vitamin C - at protecting cells and DNA from damage believed to be linked to cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. It also helps metabolise fat and aids weight management.
Vitamin D, dubbed 'the sunshine vitamin', is fat-soluble and naturally present in very few foods. It is essential for promoting calcium absorption in the gut and maintaining adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralisation of bone and bone growth. It also modulates nueromuscular and immune function.
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