June 15, 2012

Folic Acid Intake During Early Pregnancy Associated With Reduced Risk of Autism in Offspring

Science Daily — A new study by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute suggests that women who consume the recommended daily dosage of folic acid, the synthetic form of folate or vitamin B-9, 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 women who take prenatal vitamins around the time of conception have a reduced risk of having a child with autism. The current study sought to determine whether the folic acid consumed in those supplements was the source of the protective effect. The finding suggests that, in addition to women who already have conceived, those who are attempting to become pregnant should consider consuming folic acid supplements, the authors said.

The study found that women who each day consumed the recommended amount of folic acid (600 micrograms, or .6 milligrams) during the first month of pregnancy experienced... READ MORE >>

Additional study authors include Daniel J. Tancredi, Sally Ozonoff, Robin Hansen, Linda Schmidt and Flora Tassone of UC Davis and Jaana Hartiala and Hooman Allayee of the University of Southern California.

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health for both the CHARGE Study and this work (1R01-ES015359, 5R01-ES015359-03S1, P01-ES11269, 2K12HD051958-06, and T32-MH073124) and by grants R-829388 and R833292 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program and the UC Davis MIND Institute.

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