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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Several recent reports have suggested that a woman’s diet before pregnancy can have an impact on the unborn child. But now there is information from the journal Nature Communications that suggests a father’s diet before conception may play an equally important role in the health of the offspring.

Folate or vitamin B9 is found in green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruits and meats, and is critical for prenatal development.

We recommend that women take folic acid but the new study showed that, at least in mice, there was a 30% increase in birth defects in offspring of mice whose fathers had inadequate prenatal folate levels.

Of course this work was done in mice and it is difficult to say of it translates to humans.

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