The Link Between Autism and Folic Acid

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on December 19, 2012 · 2 comments

One in every 88 children born today will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder which is characterized by social and communication problems and repetitive behaviors. Children with autism can also have intellectual disabilities. Anything that a woman can do to lower the risk for this condition makes sense.

A study done at University of California at Davis showed that women who met or exceeded the recommended 600 micrograms of folic acid daily, in the first month of pregnancy, had a lower risk of having a child with autism. Any woman considering pregnancy should get adequate frolic acid from a combination of food sources (mainly green leafy vegetables), fortified breakfast cereals, and supplements.

We have known for decades that sufficient frolic acid protects the developing baby from spinal cord defects but this newer research appears to show that folic acid also protects brain development in early pregnancy. Prevention is key since much of the damage occurs before a woman even knows she is pregnant.

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