It has been well reported that women who conceive in late spring and summer have children with a higher incidence of allergies. The theory behind this finding is (especially in the NorthEast) there are higher levels of pesticides in the air due to farming and a short growing season. Although we all should take extreme care of ourselves walking around in a hypoallergenic bubble is not compatible with a satisfying life. Luckily for us recent research at Johns Hopkins has shown that if women maintain adequate levels of B vitamins are more likely to get pregnant and stay pregnant. This study also concluded that there are some protective aspects to B vitamins, not only in pregnancy and conception but in the presence of pesticides and pollutants (namely DDT, known for causing reproductive problems in multiple species). While the US banned DDT in the 1970s, it is still used in other countries around the world.
In this three year Johns Hopkins study which looked at women who had early miscarriages showed; Women with high DDT levels and sufficient levels of B vitamins (B6, B12 and folate) had a 42% increased risk of early miscarriage than women with lower pesticide levels. But in those with high pesticide levels and vitamin B deficiencies, women were twice as likely to suffer a miscarriage before six weeks of gestation. The researchers discovered that the risk to a pregnancy was higher with B12 and folate deficiencies and with deficiencies in more than one B vitamin, and one can extrapolate that multiple deficiencies were likely caused by MTHFR mutation, which can increase risk of oxidative stress and miscarriage risk. In addition, researchers found that women with high pesticide loads and low B vitamin levels took almost twice as long to conceive in the first place.
“This study tells us that improved nutrition may modify the toxic effects of pesticides, by better preparing the body to cope with environmental toxins and stressors. We have shown that women with high levels of pesticides who also had high levels of B vitamins had a better chance of getting and staying pregnant than those were deficient in those vitamins.”
We are exposed to pesticides, herbicides, chemical solvents, xenobiotics, pharmaceuticals, free radicals and industrial chemicals of all kinds from the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. These toxins accumulate in the body and contribute to the total toxic load that can cause a variety of health problems. In the presence of MTHFR mutation when toxic load can be higher due to impaired methylation and inflammation uncontrolled due to the inability of the body to detoxify properly the body can begin to malfunction and the human form can become weak, or worse, infertile.
In my opinion, this study validates the idea that sufficient B vitamins and improved nutrition protect our bodies from environmental toxins, enhance fertility and reduce the incidence of miscarriage in an ever toxic world. It can also be inferred that B vitamins are protective to the human body and can counteract the toxic effects of pesticides, environmental toxins, and other stressors we get exposed to on a daily basis.
The care we give to our bodies in preparation for pregnancy or maintenance of health should not stop with taking the proper B vitamins alone. Because this world can be so toxic it is important to remember to keep our environment as “clean” as possible. Eating a Wholefoods “organics as much as possible” diet, using non-toxic cleaning supplies, educating our friends and neighbors about the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers and processed foods, reducing or eliminating EMFs and toxicity from our own homes and lives is a great place to start. Also planning in advance for babies and conception, making sure B vitamin levels are adequate BEFORE conception assures a better pregnancy outcome. Women who have adequate levels of B vitamins in their bodies are more likely to get and stay pregnant even when they also have high levels of pesticides or toxins.
Be sure to discuss with your qualified health care provider the importance of B vitamin levels and to be sure women intending on getting pregnant get adequate B vitamins and micronutrients before they even conceive.
This information is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own primary care physician or other healthcare provider.