According to the statistics, 1 in every 68 kids, born in India is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This approximates to around 70 million individuals who have Autism worldwide. While in India itself, there are 10 million individuals diagnosed with Autism.
These shocking figures have encouraged several researchers to carry out studies for finding a cure for Autism. However, till day only the treatment of Autism is possible, without any effective cure.
On the other hand, experts suggest that there are a few supplements, if taken during the time of pregnancy, can reduce the risk of Autism.
In research, wherein the team was headed by Stephen Z. Levine, Ph.D. from the University of Haifa, Israel, some concrete conclusions were drawn. In this, data about 45,300 children born in Israel in the period 2003-2007, were consistently followed up until the year 2015.
The team of researchers gathered data regarding supplements taken by mothers before conceiving, and during their pregnancy. Out of the 45,300 children (delivered by 26,702 mothers) studied, 572 kids were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The study concluded that there was less risk of babies developing Autism Spectrum Disorder in cases where the mother consumed multivitamin and folic acid supplements before the pregnancy, during the pregnancy or during both the times.
Moreover, the positive results remained to stay significant, even after accounting for confounding variables.
Another conclusion drawn from research that is closely related to this is- consuming prenatal supplements and vitamins may decrease the risk of having a second child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In this, the researchers explained that if a child is diagnosed with ASD, subsequent siblings have a higher chance of having an Autism disorder. However, the findings revealed that moms who already had an Autism Spectrum Disorder child and consumed supplements and vitamins during 0-5 weeks of their pregnancy had half the odds of having their 2nd child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Additionally, the findings revealed that even after prenatal vitamins in 1st month of pregnancy, those 2nd children who still developed Autism, had less severe Autistic symptoms, better memory, and thinking skills, as compared to others. Considering the findings revealed from these studies, taking supplements during pregnancy does play a significant role in reducing the risk of Autism in the offspring. Now the important question is which supplements one should take during their pregnancy to reduce the chance of having a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Pregnancy supplements that reduce Autism risk
Folate supplementation during pregnancy
Folate or folic acid consumption significantly helps in processes that are imperative during the child’s development. This can be closely associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. One of these is DNA methylation, which is important for ideal fatal programming, inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial functioning, DNA repair, and synthesis, etc.
In addition to these benefits, the consumption of Folic acid during pregnancy also helps in preventing defects in the neural tube. The neural tube is found in the embryo, which is a hollow-like structure through which, the spinal cord and brain form.
Any defect in neural tube development may result in abnormalities. Other than this, Folic acid supplementation also plays a prominent role in brain and fetal development.
Studies suggest that since several pregnancies are not planned and a defect in the neural tube may develop in the 1st month of foetus development, all women who fall in the child-bearing age should increase folic acid content in their diet.
Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy
A study was conducted in the Netherlands, wherein, 4000+ children were studied. Out of them, 68 children were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder, until they reached the age of 6. The results revealed that deficiency of vitamin D in mothers during pregnancy had a link with having a child with ASD.
Iron and other multivitamins supplementation during pregnancy
Other than these, research and experts suggest that consuming iron and other multivitamins regularly during the pregnancy can help decrease the chance of development of Autism in the child.
Experts suggest that most of the prenatal vitamin supplements contain approximately 800 mcg of folic acid. This should be enough if the mother consumes it on an everyday basis. Taking a higher dosage isn’t recommended.
However before consuming any vitamin supplement, before or during pregnancy, make sure you always consult your gynecologist. He/she would be able to recommend the appropriate dosage quantity and frequency.
Also, whenever the treatment of Autism starts for a child, a detailed case history evaluation is conducted, in which prenatal factors are an important indicator of the occurrence of the disorder.
There are some of the best Autism treatment in Delhi, where the panel of expert clinicians can guide you regarding the comprehensive nutritional and other precautionary requirements that one should follow through the pregnancy.