Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of progressive neurological disorders that cause communication, social and behavioural challenges. It is one of the most common developmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, the presence of repetitive behaviours along with restricted interests in activities. People with ASD are also under or over-sensitive to loud noises, immediate changes, certain fabrics, colours, etc.
Autism spectrum disorder is a complex condition that occurs due to genetic and environmental factors.
Cases of autism spectrum disorder run in families, e.g. younger siblings of a child with autism can also inherit the condition. ASD is also common in twins or triplets.
A child born with a genetic vulnerability develops ASD if exposed to a specific environmental trigger. These triggers could be premature birth or exposure to medication such as sodium valproate. It can also be an exposure to excessive alcohol or drug in the womb. Overexposure to chemical pollutants in the air also increases the risk of Autism.
One of the most important factors that may cause autism are prenatal factors. Factors like advanced age of parents, diabetes and the use of psychiatric drugs by the expectant mother, add to the cause of autism in newborn. There is an increased risk of developing autism linked to pregnancy complications, chromosomal abnormalities, etc.
Autism spectrum disorder is also associated with prenatal conditions that included low birth weight. According to studies, intaking multivitamin supplements during the first month of pregnancy can reduce the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Research shows that a mother’s diet during pregnancy and her overall health also plays a role in ASD.
Several studies have examined the links between a mother’s nourishing status and the cerebral abilities of her offspring. Neural tube defects or birth defects that damage the brain, spine or the spinal cord can occur in early pregnancy. The intake of folic acid and vitamin D can prevent these.
Vitamin supplement overexposure can also be risky. Expectant mothers are advised, therefore, to get the advice of the best gynaecologist to get prescribed for their share of multivitamins. Mothers who have consumed over-the-counter supplements, without the prescription of the health care professional, are at a higher risk.
Some studies have associated the lack of vitamin supplement and folic acid to autism. They found that babies born to women who consumed folic acid and vitamin showed a decrease in autism risk.
Still, it is not clear how prenatal vitamins influence autism risk/prevention. It is also unclear which nutrient in the supplements is most beneficial in avoiding autism.
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