Spina bifida and orange juice

Spina bifida and orange juice are connected subjects for every woman of child-bearing age to consider; because by the time she realises that she is pregnant the damage is already done, if she is deficient in vitamin B9. The benefits of folate are profound.

This page was last updated by Dr Bernard Preston on 5th November, 2019.

Vitamins and phytonutritients provide varied and vastly important contributions to our wellness and, whilst some like spina bifida and orange juice, are completely scientifically proven, they are not well disseminated to the public.

What proportion of young women of child bearing age actually know a single thing about spina bifida and its prevalence?

Fresh orange juice and Eggs Florentine make the perfect breakfast.

But many of the contributions that these micronutrients supply are quite unknown; the best we can do is to enjoy a diet with many different coloured-foods. That is the reason why those having seven or more every day have a 35% lower all cause of death; that's massive. We aim for ten, even in small quantities like the lemon pulp and parsley in our homemade hummus.

Folate which comes in various forms, vitamin B9, has many vital functions in the body. You need about 400 micrograms a day; that's quite a lot.

Here are two of those functions.

  1. Folate is vital in the formation of the neural tube that encases the spinal cord. It's formed in the first weeks of pregnancy, before you even know you are with child. A defect is called Spina Bifida Vera. 3000 babies born in the USA each year are doomed to be paralysed for life. That translates into about 200,000 people right now in the USA who are living with this very preventable disease; that's the population of a city the size of Des Moines, Iowa.
  2. Folate prevents the build up of a toxic substance in the blood called homocysteine that damages the lining of blood vessels causing heart disease and stroke.

You will find that a glass of your own fresh orange juice (or just the fruit if you find that easier) has about 10% of your daily needs, but OJ from a carton has virtually none.


" Based on scientific evidence increased folate consumption reduces the risk of having a pregnancy affected by a neural tube deficit such as spina bifida."


Spina bifida and orange juice

Spina bifida and orange juice would prevent a city the size of Des Moines of paralysed Americans. The rate in the USA is nearly double that in other developed countries. Processed OJ has no such benefit.

Benefits of folate

The benefits of folate in its whole spectrum are profound, and that means not just the vitamin, but choline too; understanding spina bifida and orange juice could save you and your child a lifetime of misery.

Folate is found in whole, natural foods in many different forms; one of the problems of assuming that a vitamin pill will prevent spina bifida, is that only one form, folic acid, is generally used to fortify us.

For example, in your whole foods, folate is found as the methyl, dihydro, and monoglutamyl isomers and polyglutamyl too. We really need to be eating all of them every day, and that's especially true for a woman who could fall pregnant.

Other rich sources for the record include hummus, spinach and peas; beans, lentils and liver too are also good foods.

The chickpeas in hummus incidentally are also the richest source of another very important vitamin, pyridoxine, or B6.

Many coloured foods

It is all part of the eight coloured foods per day which research shows will reduce death from all causes by 33%; enjoy as many as you can, but spina bifida and orange juice should top the young woman's list.

Remember, that is not OJ from a carton; highly processed junk-food.

For breakfast, my recommendation is that you squeeze one per person in your family from our citrus fruit list.

It takes me literally two minutes to do; I timed it, from halving the fruit to poured in the jug. Add a teaspoon of raw honey if you are using a lime or lemon as you can see I've done here, or better still emphasize the mandarin orange tree which is a little sweeter. 

Mixed citrus gives you the advantages of the subtle different nutrients in a grapefruit and an orange, for example.

In a family of six, one person could be given the responsibility of squeezing half a dozen different citrus fruits; two minutes, that's all that it takes. We like a mixture of orange, grapefruit, and mandarin; a few drops of lemon or lime too.

The orange juice bioflavonoids are immensely important too.

Whilst it's important to avoid what I call a food neurosis, it can lead to deadly orthorexia, spina bifida and orange juice is an important subject, for everyone but especially young women in our junky society.

Citrus fruit list

Citrus fruit list is the way we go about it; we call it our viral guard, but it does much more than that of course. The benefits go far beyond spina bifida and orange juice.

The calories in orange juice do need to be considered, but are far less of a concern when enjoyed with the pulp; take a short walk after the meal.

An orange juice press is a must in every single family; use it regularly when the fruit is in season. It tastes so much better this way. 

Do you know what the vitamin C deficiency symptoms are?

Citrus five halved

For lunch, a generous scoop of homemade hummus would go a long way to making sure you have sufficient of the folate and pyridoxine families of vitamins in your diet.

Made from sesame seeds, chickpeas and lemon pulp, all of which are rich in folate, you can be sure that you are getting the whole package.

It takes me five minutes, using this authentic hummus recipe, to make enough for three days; it doesn't keep.

Another person in the family could be given this designated chore. Five minutes, once every three or four days; does that sound onerous for a delicious, nutritious lunch? So that it doesn't go off, food manufacturers have to add a load of chemicals, so rather make your own. It is also a fraction of the price.

Swiss chard eggs Florentine in a pot

And for dinner, any one of the many recipes for Swiss chard will satisfy your need for folate.

Eggs, spinach and green peas are all rich in the folate family.

The egg for example contains about 25 micrograms of the 400 needed; there are even small amounts in the slithers of garlic seen.

Enjoy it on a slice of this sourdough bread recipe, also known as eggs Florentine, normally a breakfast dish, but no problem having it for dinner, and you'll get even more folate. Whole wheat contains about 5mcg per slice, but a study published in the journal Nutrition shows that the vitamins and minerals are better absorbed in the fermented loaf; it tastes better too.

Sourdough bread recipe

This is the sourdough recipe that I bake every day; it literally takes only five minutes, using a bread machine.

A Bernard Preston patient

This next graphic is of a patient of mine who escaped with a small dose of spina bifida. He was lucky, his mother consumed just enough folate. Whilst a neurosurgeon declared that adjustments of his spine would be extremely dangerous, I treat him like a regular lumbar facet syndrome. He suffered with lower back pain for twenty years before deciding to take his chances with a DC.

Copy and paste "lumbar facet syndrome" into Site Search in the main menu for more information.

Spina bifida

Are you a woman who could fall pregnant tomorrow? Even before you are a aware that you are with child, your baby's future is determined. A daily glass of orange juice facts who would greatly help prevent you from having a spina bifida tragedy. Of course your organic food green is just as important a source of folate.

Enjoy both green leafy veg and the whole citrus family of oranges and lemons and grapefruit.

Lettuce nutritional value tells another part of the folate story.

Pregnant women need even more folate; consult your doctor but up to 800mcg is often recommended. Don't get neurotic but do make sure that you keep spina bifida and orange juice in mind; every family should have at least a lemon tree in the garden, and then regularly purchase from our citrus fruit list.


"Wherever the art of Medicine is practised, there should also be a love of Humanity."

- Hippocrates


Choline and betaine

I mentioned above that choline and betaine are also involved; they methylate homocysteine via a different pathway. A deficiency of either will also cause neural defects.

What is betaine, you may be asking. Read more here about choline food sources.

If you are regularly enjoying eight or more coloured foods most days, you need have no anxiety over these disturbing questions arising from orange juice and spina bifida.

Orange juice and blood glucose

One small caution is that orange juice may spike your blood glucose if you are prediabetic, remembering that half of the world's diabetics are walking the streets unbeknown that a serious disease lies lurking just below the surface. I should know; I was one of them.

So I want to enjoy orange juice, which I do frequently, then I know I must go for a short ten minute walk after breakfast; I've pricked my finger and tested my blood with a glucometer and I know that I'm safe, provided I don't go and do some sedentary work; drive the car or sit behind the computer immediately after breakfast.

Have your self tested for diabetes; one prick of the finger for a fasting blood glucose; it could save your life.

Nutritious choice foods

Nutritious choice foods or bust are the options facing us. Umpteen pills, visits to the doctor and ultimately an early demise, often in pain and misery are the alternatives.

One sees it so frequently in our clinics; those patients who stubbornly refuse to listen. As the Dutch say, "those who won't hear must feel." And so it is. Spinal bifida and orange juice is just one example; there are a host of other complications arising from a deficiency. This is just one of many delicious nutritious choice foods.

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