February 13, 2013 (Norway) – A major study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that Norwegian researchers have found a strong link between folic acid and autism. Of 85,000 pregnancies studied, women who took folic acid supplements four weeks before conception and through the eighth week of pregnancy were 39% less likely give birth to children with autism.
Folic acid supplementation is already known to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. All women of childbearing age—not just those who intend to get pregnant, are advised to take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to prevent birth defects, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines. The same dose appears to help prevent autism, according to the research.
Researchers caution that autism is a complex condition with multiple causes, so while folic acid supplementation appears to sharply reduce the risk; it does not elimination the possibility of having a child with an autism-spectrum disorder.