Birth Defects from Nutrient Deficiencies

Let’s first clarify what is meant by a birth defect. One of the most common is a cleft palate or cleft lip; this is when the lip or the surrounding tissue doesn’t form properly or completely. Spina bifida is when the spinal bones do not fully grow around the spinal cord. Heart defects include problems like holes in the walls of the heart or malformed valves. There is a pattern to these defects. Almost every one is the result of tissue not forming fully. If improper nutrition during childhood causes malformations in the child’s bone structure (and tendencies for diseases), then we might expect the same deficiencies to affect the environment of the womb and the health of the growing fetus. To put it simply, a majority of birth defects are the result of a lack of essential nutrients needed for proper development of the growing child.

I wish I didn’t have to show these unpleasant images; but seeing is believing. The pig shown in the picture was born without eyes. This condition was not the result of a genetic aberration. It was induced artificially as part of an experiment by depriving this pig’s mother of vitamin A. In the next chapter we’ll explore how most modern mothers also lack sufficient vitamin A in their diet. When this pig and several others like it were given a diet that included adequate vitamin A, their subsequent offspring were born with healthy eyes. This demonstrates one example of a birth defect that is not hereditary in the sense of genetics, but hereditary in the sense of an inherited nutrient deficiency, in which the substance needed to build the eyes (vitamin A) was absent. This is where Nature’s plan for success was intercepted. Again, Nature did not make the body of this pig imperfect. Rather, by being deprived of certain essential nutrients for fetal development, the pig developed imperfectly.

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