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Vitamin B12 in pregnancy could lead to quieter babies: Study

Women who eat a diet rich in vitamin B-12, during the first three months of their pregnancy are up to eight times more likely to have babies who cry less, according to a new study published in the journal Early Human Development.

The babies of mothers whose blood contained the least amount of B12 at the three-month test were up to eight times more likely to cry for prolonged periods than those with the highest levels.

The sleep hormone melatonin may not be released fully causing longer crying episodes than exhibited by babies whose mothers had high levels of B12. Also a lack of B12 may reduce the brain’s production of myelin, which protects nerve cells, leading to more sleeplessness.

Occurring naturally in red meat, fish and dairy products, vitamin B12 is known to help the development of the brain and nervous system in unborn children. In later life, the vitamin also helps prevent dementia, heart disease and fertility problems.

The brain boosters

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) has long-standing roots in herbal medicine with the first medical uses of ginkgo traced back to 2800 BCE through traditional Chinese medicine. Ginkgo enhances peripheral circulation and promotes normal blood flow and circulation to the brain, thereby increasing mental alertness and clarity and improving attention. Studies have shown that ginkgo is able to produce a significant improvement in memory and abstract reasoning as well as increase cognitive processing speed. A double-blind clinical study showed that large doses of ginkgo extract can enhance performance on memory tests and increase the speed of information retrieval from short-term memory.

Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is a herb used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to relieve nervous exhaustion due to stress. In addition to its use in the relief of mild anxiety, it also helps to improve both short- and long-term memory. Clinical trials have confirmed its ability to enhance mental alertness and optimise concentration and learning ability.

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) has also been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. It not only improves mental function and enhances learning and memory but is a brain and nervous system restorative that helps to alleviate anxiety and bolster the body’s ability to cope with stress.

Sage (Salvia officinalis) has been used as a medicinal treatment for several millennia for the amelioration of age-associated memory loss. Animal studies have shown that sage enhances memory retention. In 2005, a double-blind placebo-controlled human study demonstrated that sage led to improved mood and cognitive performance with increased ratings of mood, reduced levels of anxiety and increased alertness, calmness and contentedness.



A Spanish study looked at 1000 Spanish adults and the impact of consumption of fish, cured meat, and red meat on their health. The people involved were aged between 55 and 80 years.

The study was done because although the classic Mediterranean diet has been shown to be very healthy, over recent decades people who live in the Mediterranean have been moving away from the traditional diet of the area. That has meant an increase in red meat and cured meat consumption compared to fish.

What these researchers found was that those people who had a higher fish to cured or red meat ratio in their diet (that is, they ate more fish than red meat) had lower blood sugar, meaning a reduced risk of diabetes. Those who ate more red or cured meats than fish however, had a generally higher weight and were more likely to be obese thus putting a greater strain on their heart.

The omega-3 fatty acids from fish have well established anti-inflammatory effects and a balancing effect on blood fats. Both of these actions are good for your heart. Muscle cells with high levels of omega-3 present are also more sensitive to insulin and that decreases risk of type 2 diabetes.