May 2011: Vitamins 'lower risk of autism'

Women who reported not taking a daily prenatal vitamin immediately before and during the first month of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to have a child with an autism spectrum disorder as women who did take the supplements -- and the associated risk rose to seven times as great when combined with a high-risk genetic make-up, a study by researchers at the University of California has found.

Last year, researchers from the University of Colorado reported that seven out of every ten pregnant women in the United States were not getting enough Vitamin D and that while prenatal vitamins do raise Vitamin D levels during pregnancy, higher doses may be needed for many women.

At the same time, a Canadian study of nearly 500 pregnant women assigned 3 different doses of vitamin A supplements found lower rates of preterm labor and preterm birth, and lower rates of infection in women taking supplements. The greatest effects were seen among women taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

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