Women with high levels of two B vitamins—folate and B12—in their blood might be more likely to give birth to a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), suggests a study that will presented Friday at the 2016 International Meeting for Autism Research in Baltimore. The study found that high levels of either vitamin resulted in around twice the incidence of a child having ASD; however, children born to women with elevated amounts of both vitamins were about 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD.
In the study, led by Ramkripa Raghavan, a doctoral candidate and maternal and child health researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, researchers tested the blood of nearly 1,400 women just after they’d given birth. They then followed the children for 15 years and analyzed the collective data to determine if a link exists between elevated levels of these two B vitamins and ASD.
According to an article written by Cari Nierenberg for Live Science, it’s well-known that getting too little of certain nutrients during pregnancy can have negative effects, such as birth defects. This study focused on the risks associated with getting too much of certain vitamins, says lead author Raghavan. Women should still take folic acid as part of prenatal health, adds Raghaven.
The research team will continue to look into why certain women had elevated levels of B vitamins. Certain women might process these particular vitamins differently, resulting in the buildup. Or particular foods or supplements containing these two B vitamins might pose a higher link to ASD risk than others.
“It is still too early to advocate for any changes in prenatal guidelines for these two B vitamins,” Raghavan said.
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