“Folic Acid supplements during pregnancy and child psychomotor development”


The nutritional demands for folic acid increase during pregnancy because it is involved in several processes of fetal development, particularly in the synthesis, repair, and methylation of DNA. Acid folic deficiency during pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects (and therefore to neurological defects). Supplements of acid folic are recommended at doses between 400 μg/day and 1000 μg/day. However, according to the current scientific evidence, it is not clear if there is an association between acid folic supplementation and a better neuropsychological development in human beings. Also, although the acid folic supplementation seems to be safe for health, some animal investigations have alerted about a possible detrimental effect of using excessive acid folic supplementation above the recommended doses. In this study the main objective was to analyze the association between the use of high dosages of acid folic supplements during pregnancy and child neuropsychological development at age 1 year.

A total of 2226 infants from 4 INMA cohorts (Valencia, Sabadell, Asturias and Guipuzkoa) were evaluated by psychologists using a test that assessed different developmental areas such as memory, first verbal learning or psychomotor development. The results showed that women consuming more than 5000 μg/day during pregnancy (consumption evaluated during both, first and second trimester of pregnancy), compared to those consuming the recommended dosage of 400-1000 μg/day, had children that obtained lower scores in the neuropsychological test. Although further studies are needed to confirm the results of this study, results show that acid folic supplements at the recommended dosage are beneficial and that these should be maintained during all pregnancy following the recommendations of the doctor.

Reference: Valera-Gran D, García de la Hera M, Navarrete-Muñoz EM, Fernandez-Somoano A, Tardón A, Julvez J, Forns J, Lertxundi N, Ibarluzea JM, Murcia M, Rebagliato M, Vioque J; Infancia y Medio Ambiente (INMA) Project. Folic Acid supplements during pregnancy and child psychomotor development after the first year of life. JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Nov. Epub 2014 Nov 3.