How Folic Acid Can Help Reduce The Risk of Autism

Folic acid has long been recommended during pregnancy to help reduce the risk of many health concerns in the unborn child, but new studies suggest that it could help to prevent autism from developing. The March of Dimes, a private US group, has gone even further to suggest that all women of a childbearing age should take this potent B-vitamin, even if they aren’t planning to get pregnant, as it can help to reduce the risk of autism in everyone.

The neural tube is the origin of the brain in the foetus and this closes very early on in the development of the child. It is when this tube is damaged that defects can occur. Such defects include spina bifida, which is a condition where the spine is damaged, as well as some brain defects. When looking at the impact of folic acid on the formation on the neural tube, they noticed that it had a positive effect on the prevention of autism as well. Studies found that the risk was 40 percent lower in those who had taken folic acid than those who hadn’t.

Folic acid can be found in many foods, including green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage, fruits and nuts, which naturally contain folate. This vitamin helps the body to develop new cells. The majority of pre-natal supplements will contain this as it is a vital nutrient in the healthy development of your child. As many pregnancies are unplanned, folic acid supplements from a childbearing age are important to reduce the risk in the early stages of development, where the sensitive stage of pregnancy holds the risk of autism developing. If you’re unsure whether you’re getting enough folic acid, check with your GP who can advise you.

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