According to a study featured on Science Daily, folic acid deficiency may lead to spina bifida, heart defects, and placental abnormalities. However, these effects may not just affect you, but your kids, and their kids as well.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Calgary conducted several experiments on laboratory mice; they found that when a maternal grandparent has folic acid deficiency, his or her offspring and the said offspring's offspring may have an increased risk of developing abnormalities. Although the abnormalities themselves are not passed on, epigenetic changes are created, which may result in further defects. Epigenetics is the body's ability to turn gene expressions on and off.

"It surprised us to find that the great, great grandchildren of a parent who has had folic acid deficiency could have health problems as a result--suggesting that the 'sins of your maternal grandparents' can have an effect on your development and your risk for disease,” says lead author Dr. Erica Watson.

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This highlights the importance of adding food rich in folic acid to your diet. Beans, legumes, liver, whole grain breads, citrus fruits, and dark leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach may help you meet the amount that your body requires. Taking care of yourself may not only affect your health, but the health of your children's children.

(Photo by Daniella Segura via Flickr Creative Commons)

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