Maternal dietary B vitamin intake, other than folate, and the association with orofacial cleft in the offspring

Eur J Nutr. 2004 Feb;43(1):7-14. doi: 10.1007/s00394-004-0433-y. Epub 2004 Jan 6.


Background: Periconceptional folic acid supplementation is suggested to prevent orofacial clefts (OFCs). Other B vitamins however may be beneficial as well.

Aim of the study: To investigate the maternal periconceptional dietary intake of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and cobalamin in association with the occurrence of OFC.

Methods: Two hundred and six mothers of a child with nonsyndromic OFC and 203 control mothers filled out a general questionnaire and a food frequency questionnaire around 14 months postpartum as a proxy for periconceptional intake. After exclusion of known pregnant and lactating mothers, those who reported to have altered their diet compared to the periconceptional period, and mothers with incidental folic acid supplement use periconceptionally, data of 182 OFC mothers and 173 controls were analysed. After logarithmic transformation, geometric means (P5-P95) were calculated and compared between the groups. After subsequent adjustment for energy, quintiles of dietary B vitamin intake were created.

Results: The periconceptional intake of thiamine, niacin and pyridoxine was significantly lower in mothers of an OFC child. A trend towards risk reduction for OFC with increasing dietary intake was demonstrated for thiamine (p = 0.04) and pyridoxine (p = 0.03). Risk reductions were only demonstrated in women using folic acid supplements periconceptionally. Supplement users tended to consume a diet richer in B vitamins.

Conclusions: Periconceptional intake of thiamine, niacin and pyridoxine seems to contribute to the prevention of OFC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cleft Lip / prevention & control*
  • Cleft Palate / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Niacin / administration & dosage
  • Preconception Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care
  • Pyridoxine / administration & dosage
  • Riboflavin / administration & dosage
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thiamine / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin B Complex / administration & dosage*


  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Niacin
  • Folic Acid
  • Pyridoxine
  • Vitamin B 12
  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamine