Folate in mothers boosts baby’s brains
Doctors know that folate prevents neural tube defects that can occur in early pregnancy but know little about the long-term effects of low folate on how a child may develop later in life. In this study, doctors performed a brain scan on 256 Dutch children between the ages of 6 and 8. Mothers of 62 of the children had folate levels that fell below 8 nanomoles per liter of blood—the minimum normal level—in early pregnancy.

Children of mothers whose folate levels were low during early pregnancy were more likely to perform poorly on cognitive tests for language and had less accurate visual and spatial perception. By the age of six, children of mothers with low folate levels also had smaller total brain volume compared to children whose mothers had adequate folate levels during pregnancy.

Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; January, 2016, Jan 22:1-9.
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