What Supplements Should I Take When Pregnant – It has only been a few days since Johns Hopkins released the preliminary results of a study on folate levels and autism, and we have already received phone calls and emails regarding the results. Unfortunately, the headlines of many news articles are incredibly misleading. Take, for example, “Study Asks: Is Too Much Folic Acid a Cause of Autism?” (Fox News).
Before we discuss the Johns Hopkins study in detail, I want to examine why it is so important for women of childbearing age to get folate (also called folic acid).
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Folic acid is a B vitamin needed for proper cell growth, found in many multivitamins as well as many food sources such as soybeans, dried beans and legumes and dark green leafy vegetables. Not surprisingly, many women do not eat a diet rich in natural folic acid. Because folate deficiency in pregnant women is associated with an increased risk of neurological disorders, including anencephaly and spina bifida, it is recommended that women take folic acid supplements during pregnancy. It is estimated that by consuming these supplements, pregnant women reduce the risk of having a child with neuropathy by 50% to 70%.
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Since 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required the addition of folic acid to many breads and cereals to increase the amount of folic acid in our diet. Since this FDA guideline was implemented, there has been a reduction of about 65% in the prevalence of neural tube defects in the general population.
Because folic acid is needed during the first few weeks of pregnancy, even before a woman knows she is pregnant, and because 50 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned. Pregnant women should take folic acid daily. When a woman is pregnant, she should continue to take at least 400 micrograms or 0.4 mg of folic acid during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
These data were presented to the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) by researchers at Johns Hopkins. Keep in mind that these results are preliminary and have not yet been published in peer-reviewed journals. The main purpose of this study was to examine the effects of prenatal nutrition on the development of autism (ASD).
The researchers recruited pregnant women at birth and analyzed data from 1,391 mothers and children in the Boston Birth Cohort, a low-income ethnic group. The mother’s blood was tested 1-3 days after delivery and the baby was monitored for several years. Using electronic health records, children diagnosed with Autism, Asperger syndrome, and / or unspecified developmental disorders were classified as having ASD (n = 107).
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Most of these women reported taking multivitamins during pregnancy. What many reports do not mention is the fact that women who have reported taking multivitamins (which are Folic acid 3-5 times a week has a lower risk of having children with autism in all trimesters (adjusted risk ratio). HR): 0.33, 0.38 and 0.43 for the first, second and third quarters of consumption, respectively). This result is consistent with other studies.
About 10% of women have high folate levels (more than 59 nmol / L) and 6% have high levels of vitamin B12 (more than 600 pmol / L). If the mother had high levels of vitamin B12, she had a higher risk of having a child with ASD (HR: 3.01; 95% CI: 1.64 – 5.52; p value: 0.001). High maternal folate levels were also associated with an increased risk of ASD (HR: 2.27; 95% CI: 1.26 – 4.09; p value: 0.007). The risk was highest in those children whose mothers had elevated plasma folate and vitamin B12 levels (HR, 17.59; p-value, <0.001).
These results are astonishing. However, many questions remain and the answers to these questions are very important in terms of understanding the importance of these research.
Why are 10% of women so high in folate and vitamin B12? Some of them may have taken more than the recommended dose of these supplements, but I also wonder what genetic factors may cause some women to differentiate between folate and vitamin B12 processing. Are there specific problems in this population that may influence the risk of ASD?
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Why is the prevalence of autism so high in this population? If you do the math, 107 out of 1,391 children, or 7.7 percent, are diagnosed with ASD. This is higher among 68 children or 1.5% in the United States (estimated by the CDC).
Of course, it will take time to fully understand the data from the Johns Hopkins study, but we can not lose sight of the importance of folic acid for women of childbearing age. By stopping the use of folic acid supplements in this population, we may do more harm than good. Without adequate folic acid supplementation, we would expect to see higher rates of neuropathy and, along the way, an increased rate of autism.
The US Public Health Service and the CDC recommend that all women who are potentially fertile take 0.4 mg (400 micrograms) of folic acid daily to reduce the risk of severe birth defects and long-term neurological disorders. Long. (Most prenatal vitamins contain 0.8 mg or 800 mcg of folic acid.)
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Too much folate in pregnant women increases the risk of autism,” said the study. Daily Science. ScienceDaily May 11, 2016. Getting all the vitamins and minerals you need by eating only nutritious foods can be challenging, especially if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. Chances are at this stage in your life you are heavily invested in helping yourself and your child’s health. Sure, you can stick to your standard multivitamin, but your doctor wants you to carefully consider taking prenatal vitamins.
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Dr. Ob-gyn Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz, MD, MD, MD, says that specifically designed to fill any gaps in your diet, good quality prenatal vitamins ensure all the nutrients your baby needs. To grow is present in the system during pregnancy. You will want to prioritize getting more magnesium, DHA, zinc, calcium, vitamins B and C and folic acid into your system.
And no matter how healthy you are, chances are your diet alone does not give you all the vitamins you need for your baby’s growth and development, according to Dr. Tiffany Woodus, MD. ob-gyn. “Most women just do not get enough of the essential nutrients that have been shown to give babies the best start in life.”
. Mary Jane Minkin, MD, ob-gyn, is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine.
Ob-gyn Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, MD, says you should start taking prenatal vitamins when you start trying to conceive. However, your health before pregnancy is very important for the future health of the baby.
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“Human health before pregnancy has a direct impact on the lifelong health of the baby and those born from it,” she said. “Understanding glucose and thyroid function, vitamin D and folate levels are important because they all have a direct impact on children’s health.”
And data is here to prove it, says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, ob-gyn. “Pregnant women taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid supplements have a lower risk of infertility born with neurological disorders,” she says.
You should pay attention to a few things when buying prenatal vitamins. They should have the right amount of nutrients available (meaning the body can easily absorb them) at the right levels, says Dr. Gilberg-Lenz.
“Many new prenatal products on the market have good ingredient forms, but the dosage is too low to make a difference,” she noted. “Moreover, when you have millions of items in one vitamin, they will not fit the right level.”
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So the best vitamins have the least ingredients in the right doses. Here is what Dr. Gilberg-Lenz recommends for daily doses:
Dr. Minkin adds that folic acid and vitamin D are very important to get every day.
Both Dr. Gilberg-Lenz and Dr. Minkin agree that there is not much data on vitamins and prenatal hair growth. Dr. Gilberg-Lenz. “Hair grows luxuriously during pregnancy due to the cessation of the normal life cycle of the hair.” Therefore, hair loss temporarily stops during pregnancy.
Due to the limited data available on high doses of biotin for hair growth during pregnancy, Minkin is not recommended. She says taking small amounts is good.
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You should start taking prenatal vitamins when you decide to try to get pregnant, but if you are not yet pregnant, start as soon as you know you are pregnant.
To supplement what you are getting from your diet, see below for the best prenatal vitamins in 2022, according to doctors.
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