Folic Acid And Autism Risk


Photo credit: Stacey Lynn Photography

Mothers of normally developing children were more likely to have consumed 600mcg or more folic acid daily than mothers of autistic children, particularly during the first month of pregnancy, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Extra folic acid intake seems to be particularly protective for children when either the mother or infant possesses a mutated MTHFR gene.  The MTHFR gene is a gateway point in the metabolism of folic acid. Despite the importance of this gene, mutations are relatively common.

MTHFR mutation lowers the efficiency of folic acid in promoting normal development, but supplementing with extra folic acid seems to create a work-around for a malfunctioning MTHFR gene, allowing a more normal folate status and apparently lowering the chances of autism.

Am J Clin Nutr 2012

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