Taking folic acid and multivitamins during pregnancy could reduce the likelihood of childhood cancer, according to a new report.
Researchers from Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children found that taking the right quantities of supplements during pregnancy reduced the likelihood of neuroblastoma.
A literature review, published in the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, found a relationship between supplements in pregnancy and three types of childhood cancer.
Brain tumour development was reduced by 27 per cent, leukaemia by 39 per cent and neuroblastoma by 49 per cent.
The combination of vitamins and folic acid has caused researchers to be uncertain about which substance was responsible for the positive effects.
Dr Gideon Koren, the study's principal investigator said to the Toronto Star: "A large segment of our population does not eat properly. They lack essential micronutrients, and that has many health implications that we are only beginning to understand."
The Department of Health recommends that women should take 0.4 mg of folic acid daily, both while they are trying to conceive and for the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.
Folic acid, found in green leafy vegetables, breakfast cereals and bread, is already thought to decrease the risk of spina bifida.
Independent advice on private healthcare