London, Feb 22 : A new study has cited that providing antioxidants and nutrients to children suffering from Down's syndrome does not result in any kind of improvement in their condition.
The study was done by UK researchers on 156 babies under 7 months old with Down's syndrome over an 18-month period, in order to examine the effect of giving them this dietary supplement.
Down's syndrome is one of the most common genetic causes of learning disability and influences a large number of the population in many countries.
The studies done earlier aimed at determining the possibility that giving folate, antioxidants, or both may result in any kind of improvement in the effects of Down's syndrome, especially language and psychomotor development.
While all those studies could not account for any significant effect, it was found that the use of vitamin and mineral supplements is prevalent in children with Down's syndrome in Europe and the USA owing to marketing of commercial preparations that claim sizeable benefits.
For this study, the researchers split the babies, from several sites in England, into four groups. While one group was given a daily dose of antioxidants, second was provided with folinic acid. The third group got a combination of antioxidants and folinic acid and the fourth one a placebo.
The researchers provided all these supplements in a powder that could be mixed with food or drink. The kids remaining in the study were examined for their mental and cognitive development after a period of 18 months
It was found that giving such supplements did not make any difference to the biochemical outcomes in the children and no improvement was registered in their language or psychomotor development, reports British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Te authors concluded saying that this study does not give any evidence to sustain the use of antioxidant or folinic acid supplements in children with Down's syndrome.
On the other hand parents who opted to provide supplements to their children need to reconsider their hope of unproved benefits against potential adverse effects from high dose, prolonged supplementation.
An editorial accompanied with this report indicates that until evidence of any benefit of expensive vitamin supplements is available, these supplements cannot be recommended.
The study is published in a recent issue of BMJ.