More great news for folic acid. Mothers who took folic acid supplements prior to and early on during pregnancy can significantly lower the risk of having a child with autism and improve the brain health of their unborn child, according to a new study.
The study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association this week showed mothers who took folic acid supplements prior to and early on during pregnancy had up to a 40 percent lower risk of having a child who developed autism.
The study was conducted in Norway and looked at more than 85,000 children. The findings provide further support for folic acid supplementation for women of childbearing age, who should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. In the U.S., grain millers fortify grains with folic acid specifically to help prevent neural tube defects.
Since the Food and Drug Administration first required folic acid fortification of enriched grains in 1998, the number of babies born in the U.S. with neural-tube birth defects has declined by approximately one-third. Folic acid is a B vitamin. It helps the body make healthy new cells. Everyone needs folic acid. For women who may get pregnant, it is really important. When a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can prevent major birth defects of her baby’s brain or spine.
Foods with folic acid in them include leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts. Enriched breads, cereals and other grain products also contain folic acid. Make sure to talk to your doctor about the best way to supplement with folic acid if you are pregnant.