September 4, 2009

Vitamin C may be key to newborn brain

Danish researchers say animal studies suggest vitamin C deficiency may impair mental development.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows new-born guinea pigs subjected to moderate vitamin C deficiency had 30 percent fewer nervous system cells in the hippocampal part of the brain and markedly worse spatial memory than guinea pigs eating a normal diet.

Study leader Jens Lykkesfeldt of University of Copenhagen suggests human beings, like guinea pigs, depend on diet for vitamin C. Five percent to 10 percent of new-born babies in Denmark or other Western countries may be suffering from vitamin C deficiency, the study estimates.

We may thus be witnessing that children get learning disabilities because they have not gotten enough vitamin C in their early life, Lykkesfeldt said in a statement.

This is unbearable when it would be so easy to prevent this deficiency by giving a vitamin supplement to high-risk pregnant women and new mothers.