Folic Acid Supplementation Throughout Pregnancy May Improve Cognition in Children
Folic acid is a type of B vitamin normally found in foods such as dried beans, peas, lentils, oranges, whole-wheat products, liver, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach. It helps the body produce and maintain new cells. According to a recent study, folic acid supplementation for the duration of pregnancy may help improve cognitive performance in children.
For their study, the researchers used data from the Folic Acid Supplementation during the Second and Third Trimesters study. One hundred and nineteen participants in the study received 400 μg of folic acid or a placebo daily from the 14<sup>th</sup>gestational week until the end of their pregnancy. Cognitive performance of the children was assessed at age 3 using the Bayley’s Scale of Infant and Toddler Development and at age 7 using the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence.
At age 3, children of the mothers in the folic acid group had significantly higher scores in cognition compared to children of the mothers in the placebo group. At age 7, children of mothers in the folic acid group scored significantly higher in word reasoning compared to children of mothers in the placebo group. They also scored higher in verbal IQ, performance IQ, and general language.
The study was conducted by researchers from Ulster University, University College Dublin, and Trinity University. It was published on October 31, 2019 in the journal BMC Medicine.