Lack of Prenatal Vitamin Use Linked to Autism

Women who didn’t take prenatal vitamins early in pregnancy had an elevated risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Rebecca J. Schmidt, an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, says the researchers collected data from approximately 700 California families with children ages 2-5, who had autism or typical development. The autism diagnoses were confirmed through testing at the UC Davis MIND Institute, Schmidt says.

Women who participated in the study were asked by telephone whether they took prenatal vitamins, multivitamins or other supplements at any time during the three months prior to and during their pregnancies and during breastfeeding.

“Mothers of children with autism were significantly less likely than those of typically developing children to report having taken prenatal vitamins during the three months before and the first month of pregnancy,” Schmidt says in a statement.

The study, scheduled to be published in the journal Epidemiology in July, found for women with a particular high-risk genetic makeup who reported not taking prenatal vitamins, the estimated risk of having a child with autism was as much as seven times greater than in women who did report taking prenatal vitamins, but who had more favorable gene variants.

So more good reasons to take supplements before you become pregnant and when you are pregnant. But which to take? There was a study done at the University of Maryland of the nine most popular prescription prenatal vitamins and it turned out that only three of the nine tablet dissolved! That means that six out of nine are useless. if they don’t dissolve in a reasonable time, they won’t be absorbed. Here is how you can test yours to see if they dissolve: Look for the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) seal of approval on your vitamin, which means it meets dissolution standards and do this at-home test: Put your vitamin in a half cup of vinegar and stir gently every five minutes or so. Within 20-30 minutes, it should be either dissolved or at least separated into tiny particles. If it doesn’t dissolve, then it is a waste of money and you aren’t getting the benefits.

Dr. Ray Strand recommends that women forgo the specific prenatal vitamin as they are usually nothing more than a low quality multivitamin with extra folic acid. Instead he puts his patients on a high quality pharmaceutical grade with optimal levels of all nutrients.