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Is discussed. Folic Acid Folic acid together with iron has assumed a central role in the nutrition of pregnancy. Folic acid is a vitamin that is widely distributed in nature. At a cellular level folic acid is reduced first to dihydrofolic acid ( D H F ) and then to tetrahydrofolic acid ( T H F ) which forms the cornerstone of cellular folate metabolism. It is fundamental through linkage with L-carbon fragments both to cell growth a n d cell division. T h e more active a tissue is in reproduction a n d growth, the more dependent it will be on the efficient turnover and supply of folate coenzymes.

Lactation provides an added folate stress. A folate content of 5μg/100ml of h u m a n milk and a yield of 500 ml/day implied a loss of 25μg/day folate in breast milk. In the Bantu, megaloblastic anaemia appears frequently in the year following pregnancy in association with lactation. Dietary 62 folate intake is poor and it has been s h o w n that folate deficiency becomes more apparent as lactation continues as demonstrated by using F I G L U excretion. Red cell folate levels in lactating mothers are significantly lower than that of their infants 52 during the 1st year of life.

B u s t a m a n e S. A. a n d Stumpff L. C. (1978) Fetal h y d a n t o i n syndrome in triplets. Am. J. Dis. , 132, 978-979. 6. Butler N . R. a n d Goldstein H . (1973) Smoking in pregnancy a n d subsequent child development. Br. Med. , 4, 573-575. 7. Clark C . , G o r m a n D . a n d Vernadakis A . (1970) Effects of prenatal administration of psychotropic drugs o n behaviour of developing rats. Develop. Psychobiol, 3, 225-235. 8. C o n n e y A. , K u n t z m a n R. et al. (1971) Effects of environmental chemicals o n t h e metabolism of drugs, carcinogens, a n d n o r m a l body constituents o n m a n .

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