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During pregnancy, the woman must take good care of her diet, since it is essential for its optimal development and for the health of the baby. As at this time the nutritional needs are greater, in addition to controlling and supervising what is eaten, the intake of extra vitamins is sometimes recommended. But here not everything goes, that's why today we want to talk to you about the relationship between autism and vitamin supplements in pregnancy.
HeAutism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) It is a neurobiological developmental disorder that begins to manifest itself during the first three years of life, generally gradually, and whose symptoms become permanent, although they can become more concealed in adulthood, but whose possibility of remission is very remote.
He Autistic spectrum it is extremely broad, and the manifestations and signs of this disorder are highly variable between individuals and totally different between boys and girls. In very general traits, this disorder is characterized by deficiencies, limitations or difficulties in social relationships and communication, and by restrictive and / or repetitive behaviors.
This syndrome affects the way in which information is processed in the brain, altering both the neural connections and the organization of the cells of the nervous system and their synapses - the space between neurons destined for their communication. The communication between neurons is altered and the information that reaches the brain is modified, affecting the response that the brain decides to generate to a situation or stimulus.
The appearance of ASD it is associated with a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. During pregnancy, the main risk factors are exposure to certain infections, such as rubella, alcohol or drugs, in addition to certain autoimmune diseases. However, when it comes to environmental factors, there is great controversy and completely reliable relationships have not been established.
One of the most promising investigations that have been carried out in recent decades attempts to establish a relationship between the consumption of vitamin supplements and the appearance of certain neurological disorders, among them the TEA. The most interesting observations so far include these results:
- The total absence of vitamin supplements during pregnancy puts the woman at risk, significantly increasing the chances that the baby will develop neurobiological disorders such as ASD. However, it has not been possible to determine which specific vitamin deficiency may be the determining factor for the appearance of this developmental disorder.
- The appropriate use of vitamin supplements protects against the appearance of neurobiological disorders. According to the researchers, a consumption of vitamin supplements between 3 and 5 times a week is considered appropriate, and these studies analyze the effect that the levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 in maternal plasma have on protection against ASD.
Specifically, and always within these supplementation patterns, the risk of a baby developing ASD in its first years of life decreases between 57%, 62% and 67%, depending on which mother takes vitamin supplements during the third, second or first trimester of pregnancy. The previous supplementation (4 weeks before) and during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy is, according to these studies, the one that offers the most significant protection against ASD.
- A daily intake of vitamin supplements - or more than daily - during pregnancy can increase the risk of neurobiological disorders. Specifically, it has been observed, in mothers with levels of vitamins B12 and folic acid (folates in particular) well above those recommended by the World Health Organization, that the risk of ASD in offspring is multiplied by 17-compared to it is observed under normal conditions.
- The b12 vitamin plays a crucial role in DNA synthesis, responsible for conveying the genetic material of an individual, as well as participating in neurological function, among other biological tasks necessary for fetal growth and development. For its part, folic acid is another vitamin of group B whose function is also related to nucleic acids (both DNA and RNA), and what is more important, with the repair of damaged DNA.
According to all the studies analyzed, and in correlation with the most common recommendations, prior supplementation and, at least, during the first trimester of pregnancy, both with folic acid and other vitamins, is recommended to protect the fetus from both congenital defects and neurobiological disorders.
However, it is advisable to keep this supplementation within safe levels, avoiding daily supplementation and limiting yourself to a weekly supplementation of between 3 and 5 tablets, both under these conditions and if you decide to continue the supplementation throughout the 40 weeks.
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