Pregnancy folic acid is essential for the proper development of the fetus. Supplements help prevent malformations in the neural tube and abnormalities in cerebral development. Too much folic acid, however, could cause cognitive deficits in the baby. It is therefore important to take supplements only in the presence of an actual need.
The researchers followed 1682 mothers recruited between 2003 and 2008 when they were between 10th and 13th week of gestation. They gave them questionnaires about their diet and the assumption of any supplements. In this way they determined folic acid levels throughout gestation. Five years after delivery, doctors determined the level of cognitive development of children.
54.8% of women had not taken folic acid supplements during gestation. 29.8% had taken too much folic acid than the recommended one. Children who had taken less than 400 milligrams of folic acid per day had less verbal memory than the average. However, children of women who had taken more than 1000 milligrams a day showed less cognitive abilities than the average.
The study shows that too many folic acid supplements not only do not serve, but they do well. However, the results are only partial, since many women have not continued for all five years. Forward, the researchers did not notice the socio-economic conditions of the participants. They therefore excluded many possible determinants of cognitive development.