A new study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that women who took folic acid before and during pregnancy were approximately 40 percent less likely to have a child with autism, according to USA Today. The vitamin supplement will not prevent autism in every case, but the study has raised many eyebrows in the scientific community.
The study involved more than 85,000 Norwegian children over a six-year period from 200 to 2008. The women were asked about their use of vitamins and supplements before and during their pregnancies. The development of the children was then followed to track the number of children who developed autistic symptoms.
Use of a folic acid supplement did not show a decreased risk for autism for those women who took it during the middle of pregnancy. Those who took it four weeks before conception through eight weeks after conception showed the best results.
The scientific community will need to run tests to determine the validity of the Norwegian study findings, but for now it looks as though folic acid might be able to prevent more than just birth defects.