It’s been decades since women who might become pregnant and pregnant women were advised to take folic acid to prevent any possible birth defects.
According to a new study, there is the risk for mothers to have high levels of vitamins in their blood during birth, leading to a greater risk for the child to develop autism in a few years.
However, another research showed that suitable amounts of vitamins, including folic acid, at the time of conception may substantially reduce the risk of autism. Therefore, there is a big controversy whether it is right or wrong to take these vitamins.
The number of women whose children developed autism is small and based on a few families registered to just one hospital. The statistics are valid only at the time of delivery, so it was not known what was the level of vitamins in the mother’s blood at the date of conception or during the time of early development of the fetal brain.
The researchers themselves said that there is no reason to change the current public health opinion. The purpose of this study is to find out the truth about the folic acid effect. According to Dr. Ezra Susser, professor of epidemiology and psychiatry at the Columbia University, these findings are plausible as other researchers asked themselves before if higher amounts of folic acid might be dangerous.
Folate is a vitamin essential for the development of the nervous system and cell growth. Plus, this vitamin can also be found in foods.
On the other hand, folic acid is a synthetic version which is used in supplements and to fortify cereals and flour. After finding out that folic acid might reduce the risk of birth defects of the baby’s spine and brain, the U.S. health officials recommended women a daily 400 micrograms of folic acid.
According to some experts, around 1,000 birth defects are prevented every year thanks to the folic acid, whereas new researchers stated that 100 children out of 1,391 born at Boston University Medical Center from 1998 until 2013 were diagnosed with autism after a few years.
After looking into it, they came up with the conclusion that at the time of delivery, mothers’ blood had in 16 cases high levels of folate and in other 15, they had enormous levels of vitamin B12.
Still the researchers said that they haven’t found out yet why some women had these high levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 in their blood. It may be either due to eating too many fortified foods or to taking too many supplements.
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