Autism linked to overdose of folate, vitamin B12 during pregnancy

Women are currently advised to take folic acid supplements

Medics have long told pregnant women to get enough of the nutrient folate to ensure proper brain development in their babies. But a new research suggests that there can be too much of a good thing.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say women who have too much folic acid and vitamin B-12 may increase their baby's risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, a condition marked by difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction problems.

Senior study author Dr Daniele Fallin, director of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School's Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, said: "Adequate supplementation is protective: that's still the story with folic acid.

"We have long known that a folate deficiency in pregnant mothers is detrimental to her child's development. But what this tells us is that excessive amounts may also cause harm. We must aim for optimal levels of this important nutrient."

Despite the findings, the researchers say pregnant women should not stop taking folic acid supplements. But mothers should be careful not to overdose on folate and B12.


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