Low Iron Intake during Pregnancy Raises Autism Risk

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 24, 2014

Subscribe for daily wellness inspiration

Like onlymyhealth on Facebook!

Every pregnant woman’s basic concern is what she can do to ensure her baby is healthy. According to new research, taking iron supplements may help in reducing the risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Iron Deficiency during PregnancyIt was found that women who gave birth to autistic children were less likely to have taken iron supplements before and during pregnancy than women whose children seemed to be developing normally.

The study also discovered that women who conceived at or after the age of 35 years, and had low iron intake, increased their risk of having a child with autism by five percent.  Women with obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes also stood at this increased risk.

For all participants, having a healthy amount of dietary and supplemental iron appeared to generally reduce the risk of autism, which is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social deficits, language impairments and repetitive behaviours.

"While the study needs to be replicated, it reinforces the current practice of taking the recommended dose of pregnancy vitamins and folic acid when pregnant," said Rebecca Schmidt, lead study author and assistant professor in the department of public health sciences at the University of California, Davis.

Iron deficiency, also called anaemia is a common problem during pregnancy and almost 40-50 percent of pregnancies are affected by this nutrient deficiency. If a person develops iron deficiency in early childhood itself, they may have an impaired thinking, motor development, social engagement and language development.
Previous work by the same researchers and others has noted an association between iron levels and autism, Schmidt said. Children with autism often have low iron levels, which could mean that they absorb or metabolize iron inefficiently, she said.

Autism is associated with brain development, development of a sheath around nerve cells (myelination), and immune function. Iron is crucial for all these functions and hence is linked with autism.

The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Image Courtesy: Getty

Read more Health News.

Write a Review Feedback
Is it Helpful Article?YES2 Votes 729 Views 0 Comment
Post a Comment

Though all possible measures have been taken to ensure accuracy, reliability, timeliness and authenticity of the information; Onlymyhealth assumes no liability for the same. Using any information of this website is at the viewers’ risk. Please be informed that we are not responsible for advice/tips given by any third party in form of comments on article pages . If you have or suspect having any medical condition, kindly contact your professional health care provider.

  • All
  • Article
  • Slideshow
  • Video