High dosages of folic acid supplements during pregnancy may adversely affect psychomotor development in children after the first year of life, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.
Folate intake during pregnancy has previously been associated with improved neuropsychological development in children, however the effects of high folic acid (FA) intake have not been thoroughly explored.
Jesús Vioque, MD, MPH, PhD, of the Consorcio de Investigación Biomédica de Epidemiología y Salud Pública in Madrid, Spain, and colleagues evaluated the dietary folate intake of pregnant women that were part of a multicenter mother-child cohort in Spain. The analyses were based off of 2,213 children and their mothers, including data on neuropsychological development and FA supplement intake during pregnancy. The researchers assessed neuropsychological development using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development.
Over 57% of the mothers did not meet the recommended minimum intake of 400 μg/d of FA supplements, however 25.2% took more than 1000 μg/d and 3.5% took more than 5000 μg/d. In those that took more than 5000 μg/d of FA supplements during pregnancy, children had a statistically significant lower mean psychomotor scale score (difference, −4.35 points; 95% CI, −8.34 to −0.36) than those whose mothers took the recommended dosage (400 μg/d to 1000 μg/d). The researchers also observed an increased risk in delayed psychomotor development in children whose mothers took dosages of FA supplements greater than 5000 μg/d.
As this was one of the first known studies that documented the detrimental effects of high dosages of FA supplements in pregnancy on psychomotor development in children, the researchers recommend that more research be conducted to confirm the results.
Folic acid is known to be beneficial in pregnancy, however, the effects of high dosages of folic acid supplements has not been thoroughly explored.
Jesús Vioque, MD, MPH, PhD, of the Consorcio de Investigación Biomédica de Epidemiología y Salud Pública in Madrid, Spain, and colleagues examined the association between the use of high dosages of FA supplements during pregnancy and child neuropsychological development after the first year of life. The main analyses were based on a sample of 2213 children with complete information on neuropsychological development and FA supplement intake during pregnancy.