Inadequate intake of nutrients essential for neurodevelopment in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)

Anita J. Fuglestad, Birgit A. Fink, Judith K. Eckerle, Christopher J. Boys, Heather L. Hoecker, Maria G. Kroupina, Steven H. Zeisel, Michael K. Georgieff, Jeffrey R. Wozniak

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26 Scopus citations


This study evaluated dietary intake in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Pre-clinical research suggests that nutrient supplementation may attenuate cognitive and behavioral deficits in FASD. Currently, the dietary adequacy of essential nutrients in children with FASD is unknown. Dietary data were collected as part of a randomized, double-blind controlled trial of choline supplementation in FASD. Participants included 31 children with FASD, ages 2.5-4.9. years at enrollment. Dietary intake data was collected three times during the nine-month study via interview-administered 24-hour recalls with the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour Recall. Dietary intake of macronutrients and 17 vitamins/minerals from food was averaged across three data collection points. Observed nutrient intakes were compared to national dietary intake data of children ages 2-5. years ( What we Eat in America, NHANES 2007-2008) and to the Dietary Reference Intakes. Compared to the dietary intakes of children in the NHANES sample, children with FASD had lower intakes of saturated fat, vitamin D, and calcium. The majority (>. 50%) of children with FASD did not meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Adequate Intake (AI) for fiber, n. - 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, choline, and calcium. This pattern of dietary intake in children with FASD suggests that there may be opportunities to benefit from nutritional intervention. Supplementation with several nutrients, including choline, vitamin D, and n. - 3 fatty acids, has been shown in animal models to attenuate the cognitive deficits of FASD. These results highlight the potential of nutritional clinical trials in FASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-132
Number of pages5
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health ( 5R21AA019580 ; R33AA019580 ; P30DK56350 ). The study sponsors had no role in the study design, the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, the writing of the manuscript, or the decision to submit this manuscript for publication.


  • Dietary intake
  • Fetal alcohol (FAS FASD)
  • Nutrition


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