Study rejects folic acid-atopy association

EMERGING concern that folic acid supplementation in pregnancy may lead to atopy in offspring has not been borne out in a large prospective study.

Data on eczema and wheeze in children was collected from the age of three months up to the age of seven years among more than 2800 mothers in the Netherlands.

The women were asked if they took folic acid either as a stand-alone supplement or as part of a multivitamin supplement before or during pregnancy.

“Maternal folic acid supplement use during pregnancy was not associated with increased risk of wheeze, lung function, asthma or related atopic outcomes in the offspring,” the researchers said.

Higher intracellular folic acid levels in pregnancy “tended, at most, toward a small decreased risk for developing asthma”, they said.

Professor Dianne Campbell, chair of paediatric allergy and clinical immunology at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, said the

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