Food and Behaviour Research

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15 August 2014 - MNT - Excessive folic acid found to alter brain development and behavior

Scientists from New York State report that higher doses of folic acid during pregnancy and throughout life may have lasting negative effects.

The researchers found in their study that the higher doses of folic acid altered offspring's brain development and behavior in ways that are found in neurodevelopmental disorders.

These findings suggest that there may be a loss of benefit from unregulated amounts of folic acid throughout pregnancy. In contrast, popular belief favors high folic acid supplementation throughout pregnancy.

IBR Director W. Ted Brown, MD, PhD, said, "Our finding that excessive folic acid may affect development has important public health implications. It suggests the need for folic acid supplementation during pregnancy to be regulated to prevent concentrations high enough to negatively alter gene expression."

OPWDD Acting Commissioner Kerry Delaney said, "This study's findings indicate the need for further research on how excessive folic acid can lead to developmental disabilities, including autism, and how appropriate folic acid levels during pregnancy may help prevent these disabilities as well as neural tube closure defects."