Maternal Use of Folic Acid Supplements in Early Pregnancy Reduces Autism

helmetThis was just published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) issue Feb 13, 2013 – Vol. 309, No 6.  A study has been done that shows in a sample size of over 85,000 Norwegian children born 2002-2008, there were 114 with autism as the diagnosis.  In children whose mothers took folic acid, the chance of autism was 1/1000 and in those who did not it was 2/1000 (twice the risk). 

Folic acid is important in the methylation pathways, and thus is also important in assisting the elimination of toxins, the reading of your DNA, protein synthesis which affects all enzymes in the body, and it is also thus related to neurochemistry and neurotransmitters. 

The old mantra that we don’t need vitamins is just not so.  Pregnant women, in particular, should take their prenatal vitamins and make sure it has enough folate (folinic acid being the most active and bioavailable form).  I think it is time that we all (children and adults) take folinic acid along with our multi-vitamin and vitamin D.

Note that in this study of 85,176 children there were 114 with autism, 56 with Asperger’s and 100 with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified, another term used for children with autistic like symptoms).  That results in 270 autism spectrum children out of 85,176 or 0.3%, a rate of 3/1000 or 1/333. Compare this to the rate in the USA of 1/88 or 1/100 and one might ask the question: “What are they doing differently in Norway?”

The vaccination program in Norway http://venice.cineca.org/documents/norway_ip.pdf  is slightly different than that of the USA.  Notable is that they do not give the Hepatitis B routinely (only given to high risk patients).  This alone spares 250 micrograms of injected aluminum at birth, 2 months, and 6 months. Remember, that a dose above 4-5 micrograms per kilogram a day has been shown to cause neurological damage and developmental delays in premature infants.  Norway also doesn’t give the second MMR until 12-13 years of age, and my understanding is that a relatively high percentage of families in Norway are choosing to postpone the MMR altogether. I do not know the actual data on what percentage choose not to give the MMR at age 15 months.

SUMMARY

Take folic acid before, during, and after pregnancy.  Don’t give the Hep B to infants who are not at risk. If mom does not have Hep B, then the infant is not at risk. Think hard about the MMR.

Dr. Paul

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