In the News: Folic Acid
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps the body make healthy new cells. Folic acid is found in foods such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas, and nuts. Enriched breads, cereals, and other grain products also contain folic acid. Folic acid is also available as a dietary supplement.
For women who get pregnant, taking folic acid is especially important. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. According to a new study from Norway published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who took folic acid supplements before and just after becoming pregnant were less likely to have a child with autism. Authors of an editorial published in the same issue of the journal noted that while this study is encouraging, it is important to confirm this finding in other populations.
- Surén P, Roth C, Bresnahan M, et al. Association between maternal use of folic acid supplements and risk of autism spectrum disorders in children. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2013;309(6):570–577.
- Berry RJ, Crider KS, Yeargun-Allsopp M. Periconceptional folic acid and risk of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2013;309(6):611–613.