Journal Articles

Maternal Nutritional Status as a Contributing Factor for the Risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

December 10, 2015

Maternal nutritional status as a contributing factor for the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disordersReproductive Toxicology. December 3, 2015. Philip A. Maya, b, Kari J. Hamrickc, Karen D. Corbind, Julie M. Haskena, Anna-Susan Maraise, f, Jason Blankenshipb, H.Eugene Hoymeg, J.Phillip Gossageb

a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nutrition Research Institute, Gillings School of Global Public Health, USA

b The University of New Mexico Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA), Albuquerque, USA

c Navigate Nutrition Consulting, PLLC, Seattle, USA

d Florida Hospital, Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes, USA

e Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Tygerberg, South Africa

f University of Cape Town, Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR), Cape Town, South Africa

g Sanford School of Medicine, The University of South Dakota, Sioux Falls, USA


•Dietary intake among South Africa women is compared to recommended intake values.
•Nearly all mothers were significantly below reference intakes for most nutrients.
•Alcohol overpowered slight advantages of higher intake in mothers of FASD group.
•Nutrient inadequacies with prenatal alcohol exposure increase the risk for FASD.



Compare nutritional status of 57 South African mothers of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) with 148 mothers of controls.


Dietary data were analyzed for macronutrients, micronutrients, and fats via Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) and Adequate Intakes (AI) for pregnant women.


Virtually all mothers were likely deficient on most micronutrients by either EAR (<50%) or AI values. Mothers of FASD children consumed more of 13 of 25 micronutrients. For percentage below EAR, only vitamin D was significantly higher for FASD mothers. Despite no difference in total food intake, control mothers had a higher mean body mass index (BMI) than FASD mothers. Maternal BMI is more significant for positive child outcomes than any individual nutrient.


Most mothers have inadequate dietary intake. Minor advantages in nutrient intake are overpowered by teratogenic effects of alcohol. Further study is needed of the interaction of alcohol, maternal nutrition, and metabolism.

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