Small Study Finds Folinic Acid Improves Communication & Eases Symptoms Of Autism
Benefit greatest in kids who have antibody that might block vitamins transport into brain cells a potential indicator of who will respond to treatment
In a small pilot study funded by Autism Speaks, treatment with folinic acid a naturally occurring form of folate improved communication and eased autism symptoms in language-impaired children who have autism. The gains were greatest in a subgroup of children who tested positive for an autoantibody that may partially block this vitamin from entering brain cells.
Folinic acid is a more metabolically active form of folate than is folic acid, the synthetic form of folate found in many prenatal and childrens vitamins.
The findings appear today in the scientific journal Molecular Psychiatry.
Though caution is needed with any small study, we hope these results will lead to the kind of large trial needed to fully validate a promising experimental treatment for a subset of individuals with autism, comments Autism Speaks Interim Chief Science Officer Mathew Pletcher. If confirmed by further research, this would exemplify the promise of personalizing treatments for autisms many causes and subtypes.
In the study, the researchers randomly selected 48 nonverbal or minimally verbal children with autism to take either two daily doses of folinic acid or a look-alike dummy pill. Folinic acid occurs naturally in many foods , but at much lower levels.
Studies Of Folate Supplementation Or Folate Levels In Asd Diagnosed Children
In a recent randomized controlled single-blind study of 67 children and adults with ASDs from Arizona vs. 50 non-sibling neurotypical controls of similar age and gender, it was confirmed a significant improvement in nonverbal intellectual ability in the treatment group compared to the non-treatment group by using different tests, such as IQ and non-verbal intelligence index based on a blinded clinical assessment . The treatment group had significantly higher improvement in autism symptoms and developmental age with an increased level of docosahexaenoic acid eicosapentaenoic acid carnitine Coenzyme Q10 and vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B12, FA, observed as compared to the non-treatment group. Nutritional status, non-verbal IQ, autism symptoms, and other symptoms in most ASDs patients were improved, based on the semi-blinded assessment, suggesting the efficacy of a comprehensive nutritional and dietary intervention.
Improvement in verbal communication, motor skills, and plasma levels of homocysteine, FA, B12, glutathione following FA or folinic acid intake are reported also in several studies . ASD Omani children had statistically higher homocysteine levels in respect to controls . Additionally, the homocysteine levels in ASD children were considerably higher compared to normal reference values , whereas serum concentrations of folate and Vitamin B12 were much below the values defined as deficiency levels for these nutrients .
Why Folate And Not Folic Acid
Folic acid is an inexpensive synthetic version of the water-soluble B9 . Some people possess the enzymes needed to get folic acid to do what natural folate does in the body. Some people can turn folic acid into folate at a much reduced rate , which puts them at a deficiency even though they are consuming a significant amount of folic acid. The deficiency may not be low enough to cause neural tube defects, but it may present in other ways such as growth trouble, tongue tie, and neurological problems.
Even when people can digest folic acid, there are new studies coming out showing that over consumption of the form folic acid can actually turn off the ability to absorb it- even if these people do not have the MTHFR gene mutation.
Recommended Reading: Does Autism Affect Lifespan
Supplements During Pregnancy May Reduce Autism Risk
Whether certain supplements, taken before or during pregnancy, can reduce the risk of autism is a hotly debated question. A new large-scale study takes a fresh look.
Autistic spectrum disorders are believed to affect may be on the rise.
Despite this, the exact causes and risk factors involved are still shrouded in mystery. No one knows why ASDs occur and how they can be prevented.
Over the years, several studies have looked at the links between a mothers nutritional status and the cognitive abilities of her offspring. The findings, to date, have been inconclusive , but scientists believe that this line of questioning might eventually help to solve the ASD riddle.
For instance, previous work has shown a relationship between low maternal vitamin D and ASD. Similarly, neural tube defects that is, birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord that occur very early in pregnancy are known to be prevented by increased folic acid intake .
For these reasons and others, pregnant women are recommended to take multivitamins and folic acid supplements as standard.
Because relationships between multivitamin and folic acid supplementation and ASDs have been inconsistent, a study published this week in
Folic Acid And Birth Defect Prevention
Experts recommend women who can become pregnant or who plan to become pregnant take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, even if they are not expecting to become pregnant.
This is because many pregnancies are unplanned. Also, birth defects often occur in the early days before you may know you are pregnant.
If you become pregnant, you should take a prenatal vitamin, which will include folic acid. Most prenatal vitamins contain 800 to 1000 mcg of folic acid. Taking a multivitamin with folic acid helps ensure that you get all the nutrients you need during pregnancy.
Women with a history of delivering a baby with a neural tube defect may need a higher dose of folic acid. If you have had a baby with a neural tube defect, you should take 400 µg of folic acid every day, even when you are not planning to become pregnant. If you plan to become pregnant, you should talk to your doctor about whether you should increase your folic acid intake to 4 milligrams each day during the month before you become pregnant until at least the 12th week of pregnancy.
Recommended Reading: Level 2 Asd
Maternal Use Of Folic Acid And Vitamins Linked To Reduced Autism Risk In Children
In 45300 children, 572 were diagnosed with ASD a statistically significant value linking maternal supplement exposure with an offsprings lower ASD risk compared with no exposure pre-pregnancy.
Folate deficiency before pregnancy has been associated with adverse childhood outcomes and ASD traits, said the research team, led by Dr Stephen Levine of the University of Haifa in Israel.
The reduction in the risk of ASD in offspring after maternal exposure to folic acid and multivitamin supplements remained after adjusting for the presence of vitamin deficiency in the mother.
Folic acid deficiencys effect on development is well documented with developmental problems such as spina bifida, heart defects and placental abnormalities associated with a lack of this nutrient.
In addition maternal vitamin deficiency during pregnancy is also associated with cognitive functioning in offspring although the evidence remains inconsistent.
Maternal vitamin D deficiency itself may have certain associations with ASD risk and intellectual disability in offspring.
Evidence for this remains strong and as a result FA and multivitamin supplements are routinely recommended to pregnant women as well as fortification guidelines for food.
However, critics point to a body of evidence that identifies folate/folic acids role in masking vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to a form of neurological problems.
CRN advice for folic acid
What The Study Found
Schmidt and her team looked at a cohort of 241 families affected by ASD to see whether prenatal vitamin supplementation offered the same benefits in these high-risk families.
While they found that nearly all mothers 96 percent reported taking a prenatal vitamin, only about one third of them took them prior to pregnancy, as recommended.
Mothers who took the vitamins in the first month of their pregnancy were half as likely to have a child diagnosed with ASD.
Mothers who took prenatal vitamins in the first month of pregnancy were also more likely to have children with less severe autism symptoms and higher cognitive scores.
These findings could have important public health implications for the prevention of ASD in future generations, as well as helping to guide future nutritional advice for expecting mothers.
But, theres still more work to do.
This is a small study that needs to be replicated in a larger sample before true risk reduction calculations and public health policy decisions can be made, Dr. Kristin Sohl, vice chair of the department of pediatrics at University of Missouri Health Care, and part of Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, told Healthline.
Recommended Reading: Is The Good Doctor Actor Autistic
What Does This Have To Do With Tongue Ties
Tongue tie is a midline defect. I know, its hard to talk about our children having a defects. But down the center of the body seems to be where many nutritional deficiencies show up. This can be anything from a cleft lip, to tongue tie, to spina bifida, to neurlogical problems.
Midline defects are what Weston A Price looked at primarily in his work and the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
For more information on lip and tongue ties, Mommypotamus talks about them, and how they impact the nursing relationship, here.
Does Folate Cause Autism
Im confused about folate. Ive heard that taking it during pregnancy can lower or raise the risk of autism. Which is right?
Andrew Weil, M.D. | August 30, 2018
Pregnant women have an increased need for folate. Folate occurs naturally in dark leafy greens, fruits, nuts, beans and other foods folic acid is the synthetic form in supplements. Vitamin B9 supports the growth of the placenta and fetus and helps prevent several types of birth defects, especially those of the brain and spine. Women of child-bearing age, pregnant or not, should make an effort to get enough folic acid. Women who are pregnant and nursing should discuss the amount they need with their obstetrician.
A study in California looked at autism rates among children whose mothers were exposed to insecticides prior to giving birth. In this group, they found that women whose folic acid intake was above average were 1.3 to 1.9 times more likely to have a child with autism compared to women who had no pesticide exposure. Women exposed to pesticides whose folic acid intake was less than average had about twice the risk of having an autistic child.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Marte Bjork et al, Association of Folic Acid Supplementation During Pregnancy with the Risk of Autistic Traits in Children Exposed to Antiepileptic Drugs In Utero. JAMA Neurology, February 1, 2018, doi:10.1001.jamaneurol.2017.3897
You May Like: Does Autism Affect Life Expectancy
What Can Prevent Detoxification Of The Chemicals In Vaccinations
A poor diet lacking in folic acid could inhibit the production of glutathione and affect detoxification. Folic acid has been added to many foods, especially grains for many decades, so a deficiency of folic acid from the diet could occur, but is probably rare unless the diet is exceptionally poor.
Most interestingly, there is a genetic mutation that affects the use of folic acid in the body and is found in over 40% of all Americans2. To understand the importance of this mutation, we need to first learn more about folic acid and what the gene does that governs its use.
Folic acid is the common name for Vitamin B9 and is the term most understood by the public. It is found in food we eat and also associated with pregnancy, prenatal vitamins and risk of neural tube defects. Folic acid is routinely advised for pregnant women without regard as to whether or not they have the ability to convert it to the usable form.
The most useable formused in hundreds of complex chemical reactions in the bodyis called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate also called L-Methylfolate. To convert folic acid to L-Methylfolate requires an enzyme called 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase .
Still with me? Hang in there and well get through these important terms.
The building of the MTHFR enzyme requires a gene that carries the information about how to build it. This gene is also called MTHFR.
What Is The Recommended Daily Intake For Vitamin B9
The recommended daily amount for folic acid is 400mcg for adult men and women. Pregnant women need to ingest 600mcg of vitamin B9 per day, and breastfeeding women need to ingest 500mcg per day.
Feel Multivitamin contains 200g of Folic Acid, providing 100% of your recommended daily folic acid intake, ideal for supporting energy and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Recommended Reading: Autistic Dr Show
Study Asks: Is Too Much Folic Acid A Cause Of Autism
May 11, 2016 / 2:56 PM / CBS/AP
For decades, pregnant women and women who may become pregnant have been advised to take folic acid to help prevent certain birth defects.
But a new study suggests it may be possible to get too much of a good thing — very high levels of the vitamin in mothers’ blood at the time of childbirth was linked to higher risk of their children developing autism years later.
Other research points to an opposite relationship between folic acid and autism, showing that adequate amounts of the vitamin at the time of conception can significantly reduce the risk.
Indeed, some experts raised questions about the new research. They note the findings are preliminary numbers, and based on a small number of families seen at only one hospital.
Also, the analysis is based on measures of the vitamin in mothers’ blood at the time of delivery, which may not reveal much about what was going on in the women’s body at the time of early fetal brain development.
Even the researchers themselves said there’s no cause to change current public health recommendations. “We are not suggesting anyone stop supplementation,” said one of the researchers, M. Daniele Fallin of Johns Hopkins University’s school of public health.
CBS News’ chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook says some headlines have been misleading, and pregnant women should continue taking folic acid.
How To Prevent Autism With Genetic Testing
My hypothesis is that:
If you are found to have this genetic defect or your child has it, the solution will be to take a specific form of L-Methylfolatealso called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate and methylcobalamine to compensate for your, your spouses or your childs inability to convert folic acid into L-Methylfolate.
Don’t Miss: Setting Up An Autistic Classroom
Why Is Vitamin B9 Necessary For Your Body
Folate is critically involved in the production of red blood cells, and it is also involved in producing and repairing RNA and DNA, which are the building blocks of cell replication throughout the body. In particular, pregnant women must consume recommended amounts of folate to prevent neural tube defects and other birth defects. Theres even evidence suggesting that adequate folate consumption when pregnant may reduce your chances of giving birth to an autistic child.
Can You Absorb Enough Of Vitamin B9 From Food
Among all the essential vitamins and minerals, folate is one of the easiest to absorb from food. This substance is readily available in a wide variety of different foods, and vegans and vegetarians have the option of getting their daily folate intake from vegetable sources like spinach and kale. On the other hand, busy lifestyles often make it hard to eat healthy meals every day, so it might be best to make sure you get enough vitamin B9 by taking a supplement.
Also Check: Pivotal Behavior Examples
How Long Do You Need To Take Vitamin B9 To Start Experiencing Its Benefits
You may feel some benefits from taking folic acid within 24hrs. However, it can take up to 2 weeks to experience the full benefits of this nutrient.
Consistency is key and our research recommends taking your Feel supplements for at least 3 months to allow your body to adjust and provide the desired benefits.
Literature Search And Selection Of Articles
We searched in PubMed, Scopus, Medline, and Embase databases using different key words to identify all studies that indicated the association between FA and ASDs. Specific text words were used: folic acid and autism, folic acid AND autism, polymorphism and autism, MTHFR polymorphism and autism, antibodies FRA and autism, autism and folic acid absorption, autism and folic acid metabolism, cholecalciferol and folic acid, folic acid deficiency and autism, FRAs and autism, smoking and folic acid and autism, western people and autism, women in reproductive age and autism, folate and autism, folate AND autism, autism and folate absorption, autism and folate metabolism, cholecalciferol and folate, folate deficiency and autism, smoking and folate and autism. After data extraction, we reviewed the titles and the respective abstracts for all records. Two authors independently reviewed the full texts to further assess if the selected studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria, verifying the results and removing duplicates. No disagreements were noted between the two authors. In the last phase, two authors independently evaluated the studies that met the criteria. reports a schematic diagram of the literature search procedure.
Prisma flow diagram: schematic diagram of literature search and selection for articles included in this systematic review.
You May Like: Is The Good Doctor Good Representation