Maternal vitamin B-6 and folate status and risk of oral cleft birth defects in the Philippines

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Birth defects research.Part A, Clinical and molecular teratology

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version


Start Page


End Page



BACKGROUND: Vitamin deficiencies induce oral clefts in animal experiments, but the role of specific nutrients in human oral clefts is uncertain. METHODS: Associations between maternal vitamin B-6 and folate status and risk of nonsyndromic cleft lip, with or without cleft palate (CL/P), were examined in case-control studies at two sites in the Philippines--Negros Occidental and Davao. Cases were mothers of affected children and control mothers were those who had no children with oral clefts. RESULTS: The risk of having a CL/P-affected child increased with increasing tertile of vitamin B-6 deficiency in both Negros Occidental and Davao (odds ratios [ORs] and 95% confidence intervals [CIs] for sites combined = 1.0 [reference], OR, 2.94; 95% CI, 1.51-5.73; OR, 4.98; 95% CI, 2.56-9.67). Poor B-6 status had a stronger association with CL/P among mothers with lower versus higher plasma folate levels. Increasing tertiles of plasma folate were marginally associated with an increased risk of clefts in both sites combined (1.0 [reference]; OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 0.93-2.68; OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 0.94-2.70). Increasing tertiles of erythrocyte folate were associated with a decreased risk of CL/P in Negros Occidental (1.0 [reference]; OR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.13-0.90; OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.20-1.09) and an increased risk in Davao (1.0 [reference]; OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 0.54-2.81; OR, 4.85; 95% CI, 2.24-10.50). The inconsistent associations between folate status and CL/P risk appeared to be a result of statistical interaction between folate, vitamin B-6, and case-control status that produced different results in study areas of higher versus lower prevalence of vitamin B-6 deficiency. CONCLUSIONS: Poor maternal vitamin B-6 status was consistently associated with an increased risk of CL/P at two sites in the Philippines. Folate-CL/P associations were inconsistent and may be related to the vitamin B-6 status or other characteristics of the populations under study.


Case-Control Studies, Cleft Lip/metabolism, Cleft Palate/metabolism, Female, Folic Acid/metabolism, Humans, Male, Mothers, Philippines/epidemiology, Risk Factors, Vitamin B 6/metabolism

Published Article/Book Citation

Birth defects research.Part A, Clinical and molecular teratology, 70:7 (2004) pp.464-471. DOI:10.1002/bdra.20037.

This document is currently not available here.