Folic Acid Associated with Reduced Risk of Autism
A new study announced this week suggests that women who consume the recommended daily dosage of folic acid during the first month of pregnancy may have a reduced risk of having a child with autism.
The study furthers the researchers’ earlier investigations, which found that prenatal vitamins around the time of conception have a protective effect against autism, but this time researchers from the UC Davis MIND Institute sought to pinpoint folic acid’s role.
The study found that women who consumed the daily recommended amount of folic acid — 600 micrograms, or .6 milligrams — during the first month of pregnancy experienced a reduced risk of having a child with autism. The study will be published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“This research is congruent with the findings of earlier studies that suggest that improved neurodevelopmental outcomes are associated with folic acid intake in early pregnancy,” said lead study author Rebecca J. Schmidt. “It further supports recommendations that women with any chance of becoming pregnant should consider consuming folic acid at levels of 600 micrograms or greater per day.”
An estimated 1 in 88 children born in the US today will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However recent Norwegian research suggests that there may be a connection between high levels of folic acid in pregnant mothers and the development of asthma in their children.
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