The results of this study are pretty dramatic — Will you make sure to take your vitamins before your next little one is on the way?
A new study from the University of California Davis MIND Institute has found a correlation between moms who took prenatal vitamins and the likelihood that their children would NOT have autism.
The only catch is that this method of preventing autism works better for planned pregnancies than unplanned ones, because the vitamins are more effective when taken before conceiving as well as during pregnancy.
The study’s lead author and assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences in the UC Davis School of Medicine, Rebecca J. Schmidt, found that women who opt out of taking prenatal vitamins immediately before and during the first month of pregnancy were up to twice as likely to have a child on the autism spectrum. The risk of not taking the vitamins takes a leap to seven times as likely when combined with a high-risk genetic make-up.
“This finding appears to be the first example of gene-environment interaction in autism,” said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor and chief of the division of environmental and occupational health in the Department of Public Health Sciences in the UC Davis School of Medicine.
Researchers believe that the most important supplement is Folic acid and other forms of vitamin B, which most pregnant women don’t get enough of. Some foods that are rich in folic acid include pinto beans, lentils, sunflower seeds, asparagus, orange juice, and breakfast cereal, so eat up!
The authors say the findings are “strong and robust,” and is the first to take significant step toward reducing the risk of autism. If you want to read the whole thing, it’s called “Prenatal vitamins, functional one-carbon metabolism gene variants, and risk for autism in the CHARGE Study,” and is published online May 24 on the website of the journal Epidemiology.