Many nutrition experts contend that taking vitamin supplements is not especially helpful. They say that the other socioeconomic factors that tend to accompany vitamin-taking as a habit, such as medium to high incomes, good diets, and regular physical activity, are more significant for maintaining health. However, a recent study shows that vitamin supplements may be helpful for women who are expecting, or at least for their developing child.
As reviewed by The New York Times, a study published in the journal Epidemiology showed that women who reported taking prenatal vitamins were 40% less likely to give birth to children who later developed autism or autism spectrum disorders. The primary author Rebecca Schmidt and her team took blood samples and analyzed the expression of genes associated with the metabolism of folate and found that the women who had folate metabolism genes that were a slight variation from most of the population had seven times higher risk of having a child with autism.
But it is also very important to remember that prenatal vitamins should not be a replacement for a healthy diet.
Usual key nutrients prenatal vitamins contain are calcium, folic acid, iron, zinc, copper and other vitamins like A,E and C.
Folate is a kind of vitamin B that is very important in fetal development. Children conceived in a mother with inadequate folate are more likely to be born with spina bifida, or when the backbone does not close before birth, which can cause a severe disability depending on its extent. A lack of folate has recently been associated with the development of autism, and in the case of this study, it is believed that pre-natal vitamins are providing folate which prevents autism from occurring.
It is advised to take folate from whole high-folate foods. Folate is present as enrichment in many bowls of cereal and is also found in leafy green vegetables, legumes, and organ meats, in addition to prenatal vitamins.Supplements are a just easier way to getting enough of vitamin B9. In this case, it is best to make sure these supplements do not contain folic acid. Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9 and the human body doesn’t handle it pretty well. There could even appear some negative health effects.