antidepressant pregnancy autism, excess B vitamins, treat heartburn

Many Americans operate on the “lottle principle,” assuming that if a little is good, a lottle (or a lot) would be better. That can be a risky tactic, especially during pregnancy.

Excessive B Vitamins Could Spell Trouble:

Women should not assume that if a little folic acid is good, more is better, according to a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Extremely high levels of two B vitamins, folic acid and vitamin B12, appear to increase the risk that the baby they bear could become autistic.

Boston Birth Cohort Provides Alarming Data:

The researchers used information from the Boston Birth Cohort. It contains nearly 1,400 mother-child pairs in which the child was born between 1998 and 2013.

The mothers had their blood tested at the time they gave birth; the scientists found that 10 percent had excessive levels of folic acid. In addition, 6 percent had excess vitamin B12.

High B Vitamin Levels Linked to Higher Risk of Autism:

Although the investigators don’t know why some women had such high levels, they found that these high levels were associated with an elevated risk of autism in the child. The moral of this story seems to echo the tale of Goldilocks and the porridge: the best levels for B vitamins during pregnancy are neither too high nor too low.

International Meeting for Autism Research, Baltimore, MD, May 13, 2016

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  1. Nancy E

    I hold the Peoples Pharmacy in very high regard and recommend their site to others regularly as a source of reliable, solid health information. Therefore, it is very disappointing to see this article published – especially with a headline containing words referencing mothers “Overdosing” on B vitamins.

    This was a (very flimsy) NON-peer reviewed study, broadcast by PR news releases to several media outlets by Johns Hopkins just in time to give it some validity prior to the recent Autism conference. Even as a layperson, I see several problems with the conclusions of this study, most significantly that the Boston Birth Cohort was comprised of “predominantly low-income, urban-minority families”.

    Therefore, the first question would be the type of vitamin supplement these women took. Considering they were low-income, it would be quite safe to assume (since there are no controls in the study) that the vitamins provided to these low-income, minority mothers were the least expensive – least “bioavailable” – forms of prenatal vitamins. There have been concerns in the scientific literature for years about the detrimental health effects of un-metabolized folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, causing illness such as cancers. The least bioavailable (and most sold) form of B12 is Cyanocobalamin. It is quite reasonable to question whether the excess of those vitamins observed in mothers was simply due to their inability to absorb or process the cheap synthetic forms of those vitamins, due to genetic makeup.

    However, what is most disconcerting about this “study” is that it was one of many (over 40 that HAVE actually been peer-reviewed) that have been initiated due to a $1.5 million grant to Johns Hopkins from the US government specifically to study the effects of maternal habits – as well as environmental factors – of low-income minority mothers on the formation of Autism in their children. This initiative, at the very least, gives the appearance of trying to divert attention from the CDC whistleblowers’ revelations of findings of higher autism rates in young black boys tied to MMR vaccines prior to age 3 which the CDC attempted to destroy – and which is the subject of the recent documentary, Vaxxed. Attempting to divert blame from MMR vaccines to mothers in that cohort is nothing less than despicable.

    I can understand if the Peoples Pharmacy cannot publicly address questions regarding vaccines. Those who do are vilified. However, at the very least, I would hope that you do not promulgate the fear and propaganda of cheap synthetic B vitamins causing autism in children.

  2. Isabell

    My husband takes B12 injections can he take a B12 pill as well to
    fight tiredness?

  3. JB

    Does the study say if the problem is synthetic folic acid or folate? The differences have always been a bit confusing for me. I think, though, that folate is a natural form found in plants. So is the problem found in people taking a synthetic form of the vitamin, or people eating leafy greens? Also, did they say what form of b12 is the issue? I believe there are 4 different forms of b12 in the supplement market. I’ve noticed some supplements are switching from cyanocobalamin to methylcobalmin. Maybe they have been switching their formulas to improve things?

    I’ve heard about a medical condition where people have an “mthfr snp” – a methelenetetrahydrofolate single nucleotide polymorphism, which I think if you have the morphism(s) you may not have the right enzyme production to convert folic acid or b12 (methylate them?) if they are the wrong sources, into the right sources that your body needs. It’s one of those problems you can get your DNA tested for. Maybe unmethylated synthetic b12 or synthetic folic acid floating around a mothers body is dangerous to some fetuses? Scary though, because if that’s the case, wouldn’t the mom/dad pass that problem on to the baby so that the baby might continue having that same methylating problem as the parent(s)? If that ends up being the case, they should test babies for that in those heel prick blood tests they do at birth in the hospitals.

    • Terry Graedon

      You are right that folate is the form in food and folic acid in supplements. The scientists did not know why these mothers had such high levels; genetic variation is a definite possibility.

      • Sharon

        The reason some mothers had very high levels of folic acid is likely that they have the very common MTHFR gene mutations. Their bodies convert folic acid poorly and it builds up to a high level. I think all pregnant women should take only folate containing multi-vitamins unless they know they do not have one of the MTHFR mutations. Likewise the B12 should be the methylated form.

        This MTHFR problem is not well known among doctors. Often even scientific literature does not distinguish between folic acid and folate. The government puts all this folic acid in food, mainly bread products, and a large number of people should not be eating folic acid.

  4. Chris

    Government mandated added synthetic folic acid to flour used in bread, bagels, donuts, pizza dough, muffins, etc etc etc means many people will get an unregulated overdosage of folic acid in addition to the natural folate ingested from vegetables and fruit in their daily food intake.

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