Low folate in pregnancy may lead to hyperactive kids

Broccoli. Classed as a superfood.

Green vegetables contain folate

Brain development during early pregnancy may be impaired by low levels of folate in the mother, which may lead to behavioural problems and hyperactivity, according to a recent study.

Researchers measured the folate levels in 100 expectant mothers. Blood samples were tested at 14 weeks’ pregnancy and total folate intake from food and supplements was assessed in both early and late pregnancy. When the children reached eight to nine years of age, the mothers were asked to report on their children’s behaviour using a special questionnaire.

The results showed that low maternal levels of folate were associated with both higher childhood hyperactivity and peer problems.

Another research study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in September 2009 reported that children of mothers who took folic acid supplements during pregnancy were better at internalising and externalising problems, compared to the children of mothers who did not take folic acid supplements.

Reference
Schlotz W et al. (2010) Lower maternal folate status in early pregnancy is associated with childhood hyperactivity and peer problems in offspring. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 51(5):594-602.

More About Folate (folic acid), and foods containing them:

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) – Brain Food

Probably the most common vitamin deficiency in the world, because it’s easily destroyed by cooking. It’s found in AFA algae, fresh kale and spinach. It’s needed for growth and repair of our intestinal lining, and for our good intestinal bacteria. It controls the blood levels of homocysteine, a molecule that’s heavily implicated in a major cause of heart disease, strokes and even dementia. Oral contraceptives can contribute towards folic acid deficiency. Pregnant women are officially advised to take Folic Acid Supplementation to regulate embryonic and foetal nerve cell formation, and prevent spina bifida. This supplementation should begin BEFORE conception, so all women of child bearing age need folic acid as a matter of course. Best when combined with Vitamin B12 and C.

Deficiency symptoms include forgetfulness, insomnia, anaemia, irritability, gout, restless legs and even dementia. Also apathy, fatigue, graying hair, slow growth, weakness. Cooking destroys folic acid. Alcohol can hinder its absorption.