Thursday, May 12, 2016

Take folic acid only as directed if pregnant

The first thing the docs told me when I was thinking of getting pregnant was to start taking folic acid. This was part of the pregnancy vitamins women get first thing.

Now, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggest that too much folic acid (say four times the ideal blood level at birth) could double the risks of the baby developing an autism disorder.

Very high Vitamin B12 levels carry a similar risk. If both are high, the risk to the baby is 17 times higher than if the levels were normal.

The problem is, the pills contain a hefty dose--but so do fruits and veggies (the folate B Vit) and cereals and breads (B12).

Adequate supplementation does ensure proper neurodevelopment. A deficiency of folic acid is bad for the baby's development and can also lead to autism problems. But too much? Also bad.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social impairment, abnormal communication, and repetitive or unusual behavior. One in 68 kids in the US have some level of it--with boys five times more likely than girls to be affected.

The jury is still out on how much is optimal for the woman to take.  The researchers said also they did not know why the majority of the women studied had taken multivitamins and only one in 10 had excessive levels.

They might have taken extra pills, gotten too much from fortified foods or even have been genetically wired to absorb greater quantities of folate, or metabolized it slower.

This does raise a flag about the old belief that if one took too many vitamins, they just get flushed from the body as urine. Maybe not, least with folic acid and B12.


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