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Folic acid

Is folic acid or folate a key element to avoiding autism?

Sunday, March 10, 2013 by: Antonia
Tags: folic acid, autism, prevention

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(NaturalNews) A new study, called the Autism Birth Cohort Study, that followed 85,176 babies born in the six years between 2002 and 2008, sought to determine if folic acid intake made a difference in risk factors relating to the development of autism spectrum disorders. The study was published February 13 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Each baby was followed for three to 10 years and focused primarily on mom's who had taken folic acid for 12 weeks, starting at four weeks prior to conception. March 2012 marked the end of the follow-up period at which time the children's ages ranged between 3.3 and 10.2 years old. At that time, they found that 270 of the children had some form of the disorder, with 114 having full autistic disorder, 56 with Asperger's Syndrome, and 100 with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

The study found that there was a 40 percent reduced risk of giving birth to a child with autistic disorder when taking folic acid; however, they found it did not play a role in reducing incidence of Asperger's Syndrome or PDD-NOS. Folic acid, a B-vitamin necessary for DNA repair and synthesis, helps to prevent conditions like Spina Bifida and other neural tube defects, in the fetus development stages.

In general, it is found that the neural tube closes at gestational week six or 28 days after conception, according to the study researchers. At 15 to 56 days post-conception, or during gestational weeks five to 10, the development of basic brain structures occurs.

Food sources of folic acid

With food sources of folic acid available, some health experts question whether taking folic acid prior to conception and during pregnancy is necessary or beneficial. The naturally occurring form of folic acid is called folate and can be found, without fortification, in dark green leafy vegetables, peas, lentils and beans.

It is said that the food people eat affects the health of the egg and sperm even before conception, and of course, again during pregnancy. "Numerous studies have shown that specific changes to the diet can increase the chances of healthy ovulation, prevent recurrent miscarriage and support a healthy pregnancy," said Hethir Rodriguez, not involved in this study.

Green juices and green smoothies may be a key food choice for expectant mothers and fathers.

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About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. >>> Click here to see more by Antonia

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