Vit B helps im­prove autis­tic con­di­tion

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ZEST -

FOLINIC acid, a drug de­rived from folic acid (a syn­thetic form of vi­ta­min B9), could im­prove autis­tic chil­dren’s abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in the jour­nal, Molec­u­lar Psy­chi­a­try.

Folic acid (B9) plays an im­por­tant role in the for­ma­tion of red blood cells, the ner­vous sys­tem and the im­mune sys­tem, and wound heal­ing. It is re­quired for the pro­duc­tion of new cells, which makes it par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant dur­ing pe­ri­ods of em­bry­onic and foetal de­vel­op­ment.

Be­fore con­cep­tion and dur­ing the first trimester of preg­nancy, B9 helps to pro­tect the child from con­di­tions such as spina bi­fida, hare­lip, and heart prob­lems, and it de­creases the risk of mis­car­riage.

One ma­jor fo­late food source is plant leaves. It is also found in brew­ers’ yeast, green veg­eta­bles (spinach, salad leaves), seeds (corn, chick­peas), liver, lentils, and sea­weed.

The re­searchers fol­lowed 47 chil­dren, with an aver­age age of seven, who had Autis­tic Spec­trum Dis­or­der (ASD) or com­mu­ni­ca­tion dif­fi­cul­ties, for 12 weeks. The first group took a high dose of folinic acid (2mg/kg, up to 50mg per day) while the sec­ond was given a placebo.

Study­ing spe­cific blood mark­ers which can pre­dict treat­ment re­sponse in chil­dren with autism and ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion dif­fi­cul­ties, the find­ings showed that those with fo­late re­cep­tor au­toan­ti­bod­ies had a more favourable re­sponse to the folinic acid treat­ment.

Ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion was much im­proved in those who took folinic acid, com­pared with those who were given the placebo.

These promis­ing pre­lim­i­nary find­ings have en­cour­aged the re­searchers to en­vis­age a larger-scale study of the ef­fects of high-dose folinic acid as a treat­ment for ASD chil­dren. – The In­de­pen­dent

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