Folate reduces autism, Asperger’s risk

In a study of more than 85,000 babies from a mother and child cohort with up to 10-year follow-up, researchers identified 270 cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Women who took folic acid (200—400mcg per day) early in pregnancy — or prior to conception — had a 39% reduced risk of having a child with autism, Asperger’s syndrome or other related disorder, they found.

The study found an inverse association between folic acid supplementation and ASD but the authors noted this did not prove causality.

The disorder was present in 0.10% of children whose mothers took folic acid, compared with 0.21% of children whose mothers did not take folic acid, they found.

Unlike Australia, Norway does not fortify flour with folic acid but the health department recommends supplementation in pregnancy to prevent neural defects. 

“The timing of a mother’s intake of folate appears to be a critical factor,