Data collected about 85,176 babies from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) and its sub-study of autism, the Autism Birth Cohort (ABC) Study, further supported the importance of women’s taking folic acid (vitamin B9) supplements during early pregnancy.
The vitamin is required for DNA synthesis and for repair in the human body. It’s found in leafy vegetables, peas, lentils, beans, eggs, yeast and liver. Taking folic acid in early pregnancy protects against spina bifida and other neural defects in children.
Women who took folic acid supplements from 4 weeks before to 8 weeks after the start of pregnancy had a 40% reduced risk of having children with ASD than women who did not take the supplements.
Researchers found no association between a woman’s taking other vitamin and mineral supplements and a reduced risk of bearing children with ASD.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimate is that about one in 88 children in the US have been identified with some form of ASD during the same time frame as this study, a collaboration between the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Columbia University in New York.
W Ian Lipkin, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and principal investigator of the study said, “This elegant work illustrates the power of the ABC cohort for not only chipping away at the riddle of what causes autism, but for developing new methods for early recognition, prevention and treatment.”
Sources: examiner, February 20, 2013 JAMA report University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, May, 2013 Study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), February 13, 2013
Study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the US National Institutes of Health