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Study Finds Association Between Prenatal Multivitamins and Autism Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder affects people’s social interactions, ability to communicate, and their behavior. Some research has found evidence that it develops in the womb. A recent study suggests that taking multivitamins during early pregnancy may be associated with a lower risk of autism spectrum disorder.


Participants in the study included 273,107 mother-child pairs. The children were between the ages of 4 and 15 by December 31, 2011, and were born between 1996 and 2007. All of the mothers reported their use of folic acid, iron supplements, and multivitamins in their first visit after birth. The researchers used national registers to determine cases of autism spectrum disorder.


After adjusting for potential confounding factors, the researchers found that multivitamin use, both with and without additional iron or folic acid, was associated with a lower risk of autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability. There was no consistent evidence that either iron or folic acid use was associated with a lower risk of autism spectrum disorder. The researchers cautioned, however, that there was not enough evidence to support recommendations for changes in behavior.


Researchers from Drexel University led the study. It was published on October 4, 2017, in BMJ.


Previous studies have shown that multivitamins and minerals may aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve general physical health. Other studies have also shown that the cells of people who routinely take multivitamins have a younger biological age.

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