03 Jan 2018 --- The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a US trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, has issued a statement calling attention to the benefits of folic acid for all women of childbearing age. The statement comes in response to a new study, “Association of Folic Acid Supplementation During Pregnancy With the Risk of Autistic Traits in Children Exposed to Antiepileptic Drugs In Utero,” published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Neurology.
“Supplementing with folic acid by women who are pregnant, or capable of becoming pregnant, has proven essential to reduce neural tube birth defects in babies, and this new study demonstrates the potential for additional benefits of continuous folic acid supplementation,” Andrea Wong, Ph.D., vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN, says in the statement.
“Although this study points to the reduction of autistic traits associated with folic acid supplementation in a specific population—women taking antiepileptic drugs—it underscores the importance for all women capable of becoming pregnant to supplement with folic acid, too,” Wong adds.
The US Government, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics support the recommendation for all women of childbearing age to supplement with folic acid, according to Wong, adding that this advice should be heeded to promote the health and wellbeing of future children.
“In addition to reinforcing the benefits of folic acid supplementation, this study raises the importance of an open dialogue between patients and their doctors. Some pharmaceutical drugs can have interactions with certain dietary supplements; other medications can create nutrient depletions or side effects (as in this study) that can be mitigated or offset with careful use of dietary supplements. Both occurrences illustrate the need for patients to discuss candidly both their medication and supplement regimens with their doctors or other healthcare practitioners.”
Moreover, CRN points to a range of other essential nutrients also vital to the health of pregnant women and unborn children.
“Well-established science has demonstrated that adequate intakes of iodine, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and other nutrients are also critical during pregnancy and help lead to healthier babies. We recommend that women of childbearing age discuss their nutrient intake with their OB/GYNs or other healthcare practitioners as inadequate intake can lead to negative consequences for both the mother and baby,” Wong concludes.
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