Let’s first clarify what is meant by a birth defect. One of the most common is a cleft palate or cleft lip; this is when the lip or the surrounding tissue doesn’t form properly or completely. Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spinal bones do not develop fully around the spinal cord. Heart-related birth defects include problems like holes in the walls of the heart or malformed heart valves. There is a pattern to these defects. Nearly every one of these defects is the result of tissues failing to form fully. If insufficient nutrition during childhood causes bone structure malformations and susceptibility to disease, then it makes sense that the same deficiencies affect the environment of the womb and the health of the growing fetus. Put simply, a majority of birth defects are the direct result of a lack of essential nutrients needed for a growing child’s proper development.

The above image is unpleasant, but seeing is believing. The pig in this picture was born without eyes, but its condition was not the result of a genetic aberration. It was caused artificially as part of an experiment by depriving the pig’s mother of vitamin A. Most modern human mothers also lack sufficient vitamin A in their diets. When this eyeless pig and several others like it were given a diet that included adequate vitamin A, their subsequent offspring were born with healthy eyes. This example demonstrates a birth defect that is not hereditary in the sense of genetics, but is hereditary in the sense of an inherited nutrient deficiency. The defect occurred because the substance needed to develop the eyes (vitamin A) was absent. In this experiment, Nature’s plan for success was intercepted. Again, Nature did not create an imperfect pig. Instead, by being deprived of certain essential nutrients necessary for fetal development, the pig developed imperfectly.