Folic Acid During Pregnancy May Raise Child's Risk For Diabetes

While folic acid is a recommended vitamin for pregnant women, taking too much of it could predispose babies to diabetes later in life.

Research from Portugal found that pregnant rats who were given 20 times the recommended daily amount of folic acid had offspring that were insulin resistant in adulthood. Female rats in particular were the most symptomatic. They also showed a deficiency in adiponectin, a hormone that normally protects against diabetes.

“Our study clarifies the potential effects of excess folic acid exposure and may play an important role on rethinking current public health policies surrounding folic acid supplementation," lead study author Elisa Keating said in a press release.

Women likely to take more than recommended dosage

According to the World Health Organization, healthy pregnant women should take 0.4 mg of folic acid per day.

However, women with neural tube defects are advised to take much more.

Combined with consumption of foods or other supplements that are fortified with folic acid like cereal or multivitamins, women may easily take more than necessary.

“While taking a minimum of 0.4mg of folic acid per day is essential when pregnant, our study shows that it is
possible to have too much of a good thing," sad Keating.

The study is published in the Journal of Endocrinology.

Source: Society for Endocrinology

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