The researchers conducted follow-up of 85,176 children born between 2002 and 2008 of between 3-10 years to determine whether the use by the mother of folic acid supplements had any influence on the risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder. The researchers focused on women who had taken folic acid supplements four weeks before pregnancy and up to 8 weeks after the onset of pregnancy.

During the study found that women who took folic acid supplements early in pregnancy had a 40% lower risk of having a child with autism than women who had not taken it.

In 2002, 43% of the women in the study were taking folic acid supplements, in 2008, were 85% percent. However, many women began taking folic acid later than recommended and only half as it took before becoming pregnant.

We also sought a possible link between taking other supplements during the first weeks of pregnancy, including omega-3 and cod liver oil, and a decreased risk of autistic disorder, but did not find any relationship.

Folic acid is a substance necessary for DNA synthesis and repair that helps prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida, in the developing fetus. Folate, the natural form of folic acid found in green leafy vegetables, peas, lentils, beans, eggs, yeast and liver.

Since it can be difficult to get enough folic acid from food, it is recommended that all women who are looking for a possible pregnancy take 400 micrograms of folic acid a day and continue taking it for the first trimester of pregnancy.

The only new study has shown an association between the use of folic acid supplements and a reduced risk of autistic disorder. It establishes the cause-effect relationship.

If you are interested you can read the full scientific paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on February 13 can do it here: “Association Between Maternal Use of Folic Acid Supplements and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children”

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Photography By Mysterious Skyn ​​(oh mother.)[CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons