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Thread: Is folic acid causing the autism/adhd 'epidemic'?

  1. #1 Is folic acid causing the autism/adhd 'epidemic'? 
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    Hi. I'm a 58 year old non-scientist who lives in Scotland. I almost certainly have Asperger syndrome, although I have never been diagnosed as such. For well over 20 years I have been studying the etiology of psychiatric disorders, particularly schizophrenia and autism. This research broadened into other areas and became an investigation into the causes of non-communicable diseases in general. In March of 2010, I created a blog titled 'Integrative Theory of the Causation of Non-Communicable Diseases: Immune Mimicry Disease (IMD) Theory'. The blog can be viewed at

    www.imdtheory.blogspot.com


    The first half of the paper is a general exposition of the theory, while the second half deals with the specific etiologies of schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, types 1 and 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, porphyria, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, autism and ADHD. It takes well over two hours to read, so I don't expect many to make the effort.

    My research into the causes of autism convinced me that:

    a) Autism and ADHD were two sides of the same disease process, in the same way that mania and depression are two sides of bipolar disorder, and the positive and negative syndromes two sides of schizophrenia as well as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism being the two sides of Graves' disease. There is pronounced comorbidity between autism and ADHD and overlapping genetic influences. Both conditions have a pre-school age of onset and the ratio of four affected males to each affected female is the same in both diseases.

    b) Environmental chemicals which have been associated with an increased incidence of autism and ADHD all have something in common which appears to have been overlooked by researchers. They all influence the functioning of GABA(A) receptors. Folic acid, organochlorines, organophosphates, pyrethroids, phthalates and methyl mercury have all been associated with an increased incidence of autism and ADHD, and they are all either antagonists of the GABA(A) receptor, or otherwise inhibit its functioning.

    Folic acid is a fairly unnatural nutritional supplement. The natural form of the vitamin is folate and folic acid must be converted to folate by an enzyme. There is great individual variation in the efficiency of the conversion process, with a fivefold difference between the most and least efficient converters. Pregnant women often take 800ug per day, when the RDA is just 200ug. I also believe that the increased incidences of asthma and type 1 diabetes also have their roots in pre-natal exposure to GABA(A) receptor antagonists, in particular, folic acid, and I have recently written a much briefer blog on the subject of supplemental folic acid and the autism/ADHD epidemic at



    nfkbdiseases


    I'd be interested to hear your views.


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    Without reading your two hour missive, my immediate reaction is to ask for empirical evidence. It should be easy to prove through epidemiology. If folic acid causes these problems, a strong correlation between pregnant women taking folic acid and these problems in the children should be demonstrated. Have you such data?


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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Without reading your two hour missive, my immediate reaction is to ask for empirical evidence. It should be easy to prove through epidemiology. If folic acid causes these problems, a strong correlation between pregnant women taking folic acid and these problems in the children should be demonstrated. Have you such data?
    I agree that it ought to be easy to prove through epidemiology. It confuses the hell out of me that it isn't. There are a few studies on PubMed which conclude that 'further research is warranted' Is excess folic acid supplementation a risk f... [Med Hypotheses. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI. In other words, their research indicates a connection, but it isn't conclusive.

    Fact is, it's more than just folic acid. Apart from the other environmental chemicals I've mentioned, vitamin D, infection by specific microbes and genetic factors play a part, as do increased awareness of the condition and broadening diagnostic criteria. I have to conclude that sufficient research in the area of supplemental folic acid in pregnancy simply hasn't been done.

    In autism, there is evidence of folate receptor blocking antibodies Folate receptor autoimmunity and cerebral fo... [Neuropediatrics. 2007] - PubMed - NCBI and evidence of variants in folate and folic acid metabolising enzymes Aberrations in folate metabolic pathway and ... [Psychiatr Genet. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI Preliminary evidence for involvement of the fo... [Neurosci Lett. 2007] - PubMed - NCBI

    In ADHD, there is evidence of a folate pathway enzyme polymorphism Formate assay in body fluids: application in met... [Biochem Med. 1975] - PubMed - NCBI8154909
    and a significant increase in the reduced folate carrier allele A functional polymorph... [Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Without reading your two hour missive, my immediate reaction is to ask for empirical evidence. It should be easy to prove through epidemiology. If folic acid causes these problems, a strong correlation between pregnant women taking folic acid and these problems in the children should be demonstrated. Have you such data?
    I agree that it ought to be easy to prove through epidemiology. It confuses the hell out of me that it isn't. There are a few studies on PubMed which conclude that 'further research is warranted' Is excess folic acid supplementation a risk f... [Med Hypotheses. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI. In other words, their research indicates a connection, but it isn't conclusive.

    Fact is, it's more than just folic acid. Apart from the other environmental chemicals I've mentioned, vitamin D, infection by specific microbes and genetic factors play a part, as do increased awareness of the condition and broadening diagnostic criteria. I have to conclude that sufficient research in the area of supplemental folic acid in pregnancy simply hasn't been done.

    In autism, there is evidence of folate receptor blocking antibodies Folate receptor autoimmunity and cerebral fo... [Neuropediatrics. 2007] - PubMed - NCBI and evidence of variants in folate and folic acid metabolising enzymes Aberrations in folate metabolic pathway and ... [Psychiatr Genet. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI Preliminary evidence for involvement of the fo... [Neurosci Lett. 2007] - PubMed - NCBI

    In ADHD, there is evidence of a folate pathway enzyme polymorphism Formate assay in body fluids: application in met... [Biochem Med. 1975] - PubMed - NCBI8154909
    and a significant increase in the reduced folate carrier allele A functional polymorph... [Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI
    What's the evidence that there is actually such an epidemic? As I understand it, the consensus is that there doesn't appear to have been a real increase autism, just an increase in the numbers of diagnoses which seems to be mostly explained by changes in diagnostic criteria and increased public awareness. I'd also be very hesitant to use Medical Hypotheses as a scientific source- it's not a peer reviewed journal and it has quite a bad reputation amongst biologists.
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    Well, there is little dispute that some of the increased incidence is due to increased awareness and, in particular, to a much broader definition of the condition compared to the diagnostic criteria used in the 70s. The question is 'How much?' I don't know what percentage of researchers believe this explains all of the rise and what percentage believe that the rise is too great to be accounted for by broadening diagnostic criteria, and therefore environmental factors must also be implicated.

    This graph shows the number of US residents aged 6-17 diagnosed with autism (per 1,000) from 1996-2007. It just doesn't seem likely that there could be such a dramatic increase in 12 years due to changing diagnostic criteria:


    US-autism-6-17-1996-2007.jpg
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    Sorry, about that. I tried to edit my post after posting to explain that I expected the graph to look bigger and that a larger version can be seen on the Wikipedia 'Autism' page.
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    People can click on the graph to enlarge it.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    People can click on the graph to enlarge it.
    Okay, thanks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    It just doesn't seem likely that there could be such a dramatic increase in 12 years due to changing diagnostic criteria:
    Why not? Up until the 1970s hardly anybody I knew had even heard of autism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    It just doesn't seem likely that there could be such a dramatic increase in 12 years due to changing diagnostic criteria:
    Why not? Up until the 1970s hardly anybody I knew had even heard of autism.

    The graph shows the increase from 1996-2007. Clinicians were fully aware of the condition well before 1996.
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    Can it be shown that diagnosis techniques and definitions of Autism spectrum disorders did not change during the 96-07 period?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Can it be shown that diagnosis techniques and definitions of Autism spectrum disorders did not change during the 96-07 period?
    I don't have any information about that. However, I found an article in which the debate between environmental causes and changing diagnostic criteria is discussed. It takes the form of an interview with an expert on the subject. The article is from 2005 and the expert makes reference to the 'most recent' changes to diagnostic criteria being in 1994.

    Medscape: Medscape Access
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    Sorry about the link. I found the article by googling, so why the URL should take you to a page where you have to register with Medscape is odd. Never seen that before. Here's a snippet:

    Dr. Newschaffer: Formal changes in diagnostic criteria over this time period include the shift from the DSM-III criteria introduced in 1980 to the DSM-III-R criteria, introduced in 1987, and then the move to the DSM-IV in 1994.
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    So it looks like at least part is probably due to changes in diagnostic criteria in the years directly prior to the graphs start date. ADHD also had a diagnostic criteria revision in 1994.
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    Although any modern and recent boosting of autism rates must partly implicate diagnostic criteria and other artifacts, it remains that autism seems to have been at most very rare in pre-industrial times. Reading in historical documents we run across many descriptions of people with mental problems we can now diagnose - schizophrenia, bipolar stuff, Alzheimers, etc, - but not autism.
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    Iceaura

    That is meaningless.
    If you read literature from previous times, you see all kinds of descriptions of human 'moods' which mean nothing today. What does 'melancholia' mean? Probably depression, but maybe autism.

    There is little or no proper evidence to suggest autism is any more common today than any time in the past. Just a change of terminology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Iceaura

    That is meaningless.
    If you read literature from previous times, you see all kinds of descriptions of human 'moods' which mean nothing today. What does 'melancholia' mean? Probably depression, but maybe autism.

    There is little or no proper evidence to suggest autism is any more common today than any time in the past. Just a change of terminology.

    Well, I'd say a greater than sixfold increase in incidence in the US in just 12 years (see graph in post #5), when there had been no official change in the diagnostic criteria, is some evidence of an environmental contribution to causation.
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    Ahh, but as I noted there were a series of changes right before the period noted. To what degree were the criteria changed in 1994? Also note that Asperger syndrome had just been introduced into the WHO diagnostic manual in 1992 and the APA manual in 1994. It seems likely that a number of the reported cases were preexisting conditions just identified due to the recognition of the new syndromes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Ahh, but as I noted there were a series of changes right before the period noted. To what degree were the criteria changed in 1994? Also note that Asperger syndrome had just been introduced into the WHO diagnostic manual in 1992 and the APA manual in 1994. It seems likely that a number of the reported cases were preexisting conditions just identified due to the recognition of the new syndromes.

    True. It would be good to know exactly what changes took place in 1994.


    In the light of the graph at post #5, showing a greater than sixfold increase in annual autism diagnoses from 1996 to 2007 in the US, this extract from Wikipedia on the decision by the US government to make food fortification with folic acid mandatory from January 1st 1998 is interesting:


    "In 1996, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published regulations requiring the addition of folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, corn meals, pastas, rice, and other grain products.[114][115] This ruling took effect on January 1, 1998 . . . .

    . . . .When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration set the folic acid fortification regulation in 1996, the projected increase in folic acid intake was 100 µg/d.[121] Data from a study with 1480 subjects showed that folic acid intake increased by 190 µg/d and total folate intake increased by 323 µg dietary folate equivalents (DFE)/d.[121] Folic acid intake above the upper tolerable intake level (1000 µg folic acid/d) increased only among those individuals consuming folic acid supplements as well as folic acid found in fortified grain products.[121]
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    what other changes and regulations were introduced in 1996?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    what other changes and regulations were introduced in 1996?
    The problem with totally uncontrolled, unanalysed, retrospective evidence is that the answer to your question is "billions, mostly non-quantifiable". The rise in autism also correlates with global warming, which itself inversely correlates with the global decline in flared trousers. Coincidence?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    what other changes and regulations were introduced in 1996?
    The problem with totally uncontrolled, unanalysed, retrospective evidence is that the answer to your question is "billions, mostly non-quantifiable". The rise in autism also correlates with global warming, which itself inversely correlates with the global decline in flared trousers. Coincidence?

    Well, yes, but we don't see antibodies to flared trousers in autism. We do see antibodies to folate receptors.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    what other changes and regulations were introduced in 1996?
    The problem with totally uncontrolled, unanalysed, retrospective evidence is that the answer to your question is "billions, mostly non-quantifiable". The rise in autism also correlates with global warming, which itself inversely correlates with the global decline in flared trousers. Coincidence?

    Well, yes, but we don't see antibodies to flared trousers in autism. We do see antibodies to folate receptors.
    But no clear evidence of a rise in the true frequency of autism cases. A correlation between autism and anti-folate receptor antibodies is irrelevant (at least to the folate supplementation hypothesis) unless we can establish that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post

    Folic acid is a fairly unnatural nutritional supplement. The natural form of the vitamin is folate and folic acid must be converted to folate by an enzyme. There is great individual variation in the efficiency of the conversion process, with a fivefold difference between the most and least efficient converters. Pregnant women often take 800ug per day, when the RDA is just 200ug. I also believe that the increased incidences of asthma and type 1 diabetes also have their roots in pre-natal exposure to GABA(A) receptor antagonists, in particular, folic acid, and I have recently written a much briefer blog on the subject of supplemental folic acid and the autism/ADHD epidemic at

    I'd be interested to hear your views.
    Supplements of any kind are, according to media news reports, no longer recommended unless there is a deficiency. I think it would be difficult to overdose or do damage with any nutrition if taken from natural sources, not extracts.
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    Depends. Folate is water-soluble, so might never build up to harmful concentrations, excess being washed out in urine. "Natural" has little to do with it, botulin toxin is "natural", as is rattlesnake venom.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Depends. Folate is water-soluble, so might never build up to harmful concentrations, excess being washed out in urine. "Natural" has little to do with it, botulin toxin is "natural", as is rattlesnake venom.
    The analogy isn't really appropriate. Botulin toxin and rattlesnake venom are not essential micronutrients. Folate is an essential micronutrient and billions of years of evolutiuon have fine tuned organisms to its use in amounts we get in diet.

    Folic acid is unnatural in the diet and is used by the pharmaceutical industry in preference to folate because it is a much more stable molecule. It has a more powerful antagonistic action at the GABA(A) receptor than folate.

    Maternal intake of only two drugs are known to be associated with a higher incidence of autism in offspring. One is valproic acid, an anti-convulsant. The other is thalidomide. The therapeutic action of both drugs is at the GABA(A) receptor.
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    I suspect autism and other such diseases might have something to do with pregnant mothers horror movies .. the emotions are horrendous, the adult withdraws from the world, the child in the womb shares the emotions and chemical changes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    The graph shows the increase from 1996-2007. Clinicians were fully aware of the condition well before 1996.
    You had to get to a Clinician first. Schools and preschool programs play a huge rule in taking the first steps. In most states and in rural areas there was virtually no one who know, or had an specific mission to identify these children. I agree with the others here, I doubt there's a real epidemic, but just better awareness, diagnosis and interventions.
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    There is an additional factor. Fashions and trends within the clinical community. Clinicians are human and subject to human variations. Psychiatric diagnosis is still more of an art than a science. There are almost no lab tests for most psychiatric disorders. clinicians look at the symptoms they see or that are reported to them and make a guess. They tend to diagnose what they have just read a fasinating paper about. They like success and so like to diagnose what can be treated effectively and safely. I have worked 30 years in this field and I have to tell you: Psychiatry is subject to fads.

    There is a basic rule: for extraordinary claims you need extraordinary evidence. To support your claim that a nutritional suppliment causes autism you need tight, rigorusly controled, experimental evidence. Start with animal studies. If you can induce autism in mice with vit B suppliments that would be a good starting point.
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    Dear Yonza (and others),
    I am an amateur to this level of research. I am only posting because I am a mother of 2 children with ADHD: one who also has Aspergers and the other with PDD...
    I stumbled upon this blog when I started doing some of my own research on these disorders. Mainly because my oldest boy (ADHD/Aspergers) functions relatively normally (ie Hyperactivity is decreased, he thinks clearer, and seems to have less "intense" emotions, etc) when he is taking the antibiotic called Bactrim (made up of a combination of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim).
    Through some basic research I found this antibiotic reduces folic acid in the system. So I have begun questioning the connection of Folic Acid and ADHD and Austism spectrum disorders. Most doctors and pharmacists I have spoke with think I am crazy at linking these things. So Yonza, I respect the amount of research you have done and thank you tremendously...

    My question is, knowing this information ~ How can I help my children? I can't place my child on an antibiotic on a daily basis, but I feel the ADHD medications are simply masking the problem. Is there something safer to take to help regulate the levels of Folic Acid in the body? What research have you done (if any) about regulating the folic acid (and other) levels, because just from my son taking this antibiotic, I can say there is help yet. I assume he will always have the ADHD/Autistic tendencies, but to be able to function better in the process... would be an answer to any mother's prayer for her child. ... Help??

    PS - I took Folic acid vitamins during pregnancy. The doctor told me they would not hurt and could only help. ...
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    What are the other effects on the system besides Folic acid reduction?
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    That graph for autism diagnoses needs to be set alongside another graph showing the continuing rate of diagnoses of 'mental retardation' and all those similarly described conditions that (undiagnosed) autism used to be lumped in with. I know I've seen one somewhere, but can't think where. I'll let it sit at the back of the mind for a while and hope it will naturally pop up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    What are the other effects on the system besides Folic acid reduction?
    Here is what I found on Bactrim (Bactrim) :
    How Does It Work?
    Bactrim contains two different antibiotics, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. Sulfamethoxazole belongs to a group of drugs known as sulfonamides ("sulfa" drugs). Trimethoprim does not belong to a specific class of medications. These two antibiotics work in different but similar ways. Essentially, both sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim work by inhibiting the production of folic acid in bacteria, although they work in different stages of folic acid production. Folic acid is important for making proteins and DNA. Because humans obtain folic acid from the diet (and bacteria cannot), human cells are less affected by Bactrim.
    Combining sulfamethoxazole with trimethoprim increases the effectiveness and decreases the chance of antibiotic resistance (when bacteria develop the ability to resist antibiotics).
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    Hmm not actually the answer I was looking for, you mention Folic acid reduction in the system, what are the other shown clinical side effects?

    Also what other supplements were you taking while pregnant?
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    I also took a prescribed over the counter pre-natal vitamin.
    I don't know why your question is not making since to me, but are you asking the other clinical side effects of the anitbiotic bactrim? Or?
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    Yes, I am, and asking about the other prescribed and over the counter things in an attempt to see what all other options you have examined as possible factors.
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    All, I believe the medical community agrees there is a connection here, but my understanding is that they believe folic acid during pregnancy REDUCES rates of autistic spectrum disorders, not causes or increases risk. For example: Folic acid intake during early pregnancy associated with reduced risk of autism in offspring
    And of course, as already mentioned, folic acid would only be one piece of a much larger puzzle. Then there is a completely separate question that Mom poses, about the role of folic acid in individuals who now live with an autistic spectrum disorder. The Bactrim incident is very interesting. Mom, have you compared notes with other parents or individuals on the autism spectrum?
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    A theory of autism is that it is caused by the increasing numbers of older fathers. When a man is no longer young (say, over 40) his sperm is of lower quality, and offspring resulting are more likely to have certain defects, including autism. Since more men are fathering children at a greater age, this could explain an increase in autistic children.
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    If there's an increase. There's a near perfect match between the increase in autism diagnoses and the decline in less precisely defined diagnoses of intellectual impairment until about 10 years ago. Since then, the large numbers of autism diagnoses based on behavioural or other problems where there is little or no intellectual delay are distorting those numbers. (Yes, yes. I'll keep looking.)

    I'm quite impressed with some of the recent work on genetics. This isn't too bad a rundown from an ordinary newspaper.
    Why Kids Get Autism: New Genetic Clues - WSJ.com

    Though the 'environmental' factors of pregnancy have to play a large part. My nephew's severely afflicted autistic child had a stroke at, or just before, his premature birth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaL View Post
    All, I believe the medical community agrees there is a connection here, but my understanding is that they believe folic acid during pregnancy REDUCES rates of autistic spectrum disorders, not causes or increases risk. For example: Folic acid intake during early pregnancy associated with reduced risk of autism in offspring
    And of course, as already mentioned, folic acid would only be one piece of a much larger puzzle. Then there is a completely separate question that Mom poses, about the role of folic acid in individuals who now live with an autistic spectrum disorder. The Bactrim incident is very interesting. Mom, have you compared notes with other parents or individuals on the autism spectrum?
    I am unfamiliar with any other moms with children having Autism-Spectrum Disorders. I will look into that however and see if they notice any difference. That is a good suggestion. All I know is that it makes a major difference for my son (now age 11). I first noticed this reaction to Bactrim when he was very young as he has been prescribed this for sinus infections, etc. I often thought it was a coincidence, but as it continued to happen every time, I started to ask questions. I have not received much help from the few doctors and pharmacists I have spoke with (ie "There is no reason that should be the case"). So, I'm just starting this journey on my own of trying to figure out WHY it works, (did I mention I'm an amateur to this level of research?). Its all very much over my head, but I just want to be able to help my son from a stand point of "healing" his brain/body verses "masking the symptoms" that the ADHD medication appears to do (tho not as well as bactrim). I realize Autism spectrum disorders are rarely (if ever) "healed", and that my son will have this all of his life to one degree or another... I am just hoping to help him along the journey. Thanks.
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    I would definitely suggest looking for other parents. You will be surprised how helpful it will be just to have some input from other people who have been through it. Even if you are just chatting with them online, it will do a world of good. Plus, if you discover similar stories regarding bactrim, you will be able to make a case for further research in that area.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Yes, I am, and asking about the other prescribed and over the counter things in an attempt to see what all other options you have examined as possible factors.
    He is currently taking Methylphenidate 20mg to get through the school day. That seems to work while he is on it reasonably well, but is an ADHD drug. I do not have him on it all the time because I feel it does not teach him the skills he needs to function later in life. I believe he gets that through trial and error and learning what works and what doesn't. (He was kicked out of one school due to behaviors/obsessions and is barely hanging on at the school he is in now - primarily social issues, as are common with any Autism spectrum disorders - so this medication is helping him stay in school).
    The bactrim worked long before he took this medication and also works while he is on it.

    I should have kept a list all through his childhood about various medications he's been prescribed and how he reacts to them. I do know with Amoxicillin he bounces off the walls and is significantly more impulsive/unpredictable (although happy). With many allergy medications he gets very irritable/angry.
    I'm currently taking him off milk to see if there is a difference there. There are some studies linking some Austism spectrum disorders with a brain allergy to milk. I've tried regular over the counter daily vitamins (in case he wasn't getting enough of something in his diet). We eat well tho, mostly organic foods, etc.
    I guess I'm just curious what it might be about Bactrim. As I posted before, it works by taking out the folic acid in the body. That could be what helps, or maybe it is a certain bacteria in his gut that it kills that seems to help? I really have no clue, or even how to go about beginning to figure that out without a doctorate. I'm willing to try safe things to help him, but as with any mom, am cautious.
    I know I probably still didn't answer your question the way you intended, but maybe this helps?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    A theory of autism is that it is caused by the increasing numbers of older fathers. When a man is no longer young (say, over 40) his sperm is of lower quality, and offspring resulting are more likely to have certain defects, including autism. Since more men are fathering children at a greater age, this could explain an increase in autistic children.
    For what it is worth, my son's father was 28 years old at the time of conception.
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    For what it is worth, my son's father was 28 years old at the time of conception.
    And my nephew was barely 30 when his severely disabled autistic son was born.

    It's all about the numbers. Anyone can have a Down's syndrome child, but statistics show that the older the mother the higher the odds (though, in that case, people had been overlooking the obvious that the older the mother, the older the father was likely to be.)
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    No but vaccines are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttown View Post
    No but vaccines are.
    Do you have any evidence to support that?

    After all, spreading misinformation that could lead to a reduction in vaccination rates and a corresponding increase in death rates is not being "independent" or "sceptical" or "open minded". It is morally reprehensible and pretty close to manslaughter.
    Last edited by Strange; October 10th, 2012 at 02:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ttown View Post
    No but vaccines are.
    Do you have any evidence to support that?

    After all, spreading misinformation that could lead to a reduction in vaccination rates and a corresponding increase in death rates is not being "independent" or "sceptical" or "open minded". It is morally reprehensible and pretty close to manslaughter.
    Spare me your BS personal attacks it does not help your case. Explain why the US governed has compensated more than a thousand cases in which it was ordered by courts following vaccines?

    "We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.[PDF Download - Text of email from US HRSA to Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News]"

    http://childhealthsafety.files.wordp...s-vaccines.pdf


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    Here's just one example of the court ruling the compensation was justified due to autism injury from vaccine. The court decision text included in article.

    David Kirby: The Vaccine-Autism Court Document Every American Should Read
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    Shows us the scientific proof, not hearsay from others.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttown View Post
    Here's just one example of the court ruling the compensation was justified due to autism injury from vaccine. The court decision text included in article.

    David Kirby: The Vaccine-Autism Court Document Every American Should Read
    Did you actually read it? Here is what it says:

    "n sum, DVIC has concluded that the facts of this case meet the statutory criteria for demonstrating that the vaccinations CHILD received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder, which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder"

    The child had an underlying mitochondrial disorder. Did you see that?

    Look, what would you want to happen? That vaccines be pulled? How many children will die then? How many do you think have died as a direct result of this irrational and uninformed vaccine/autism scare that is still going on? Think about that.
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    Thanks. From that (non-scientific) source: "The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines."

    Doesn't seem to support your case.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Depends. Folate is water-soluble, so might never build up to harmful concentrations, excess being washed out in urine. "Natural" has little to do with it, botulin toxin is "natural", as is rattlesnake venom.
    The analogy isn't really appropriate. Botulin toxin and rattlesnake venom are not essential micronutrients. Folate is an essential micronutrient and billions of years of evolutiuon have fine tuned organisms to its use in amounts we get in diet.

    Folic acid is unnatural in the diet and is used by the pharmaceutical industry in preference to folate because it is a much more stable molecule. It has a more powerful antagonistic action at the GABA(A) receptor than folate.

    Maternal intake of only two drugs are known to be associated with a higher incidence of autism in offspring. One is valproic acid, an anti-convulsant. The other is thalidomide. The therapeutic action of both drugs is at the GABA(A) receptor.
    You do know that folate and folic acid are the same substance. Like not even isomers of each other, but the EXACT same substance, with the exact same structure. The only difference is how they are synthesized. And I really don't see how the GABA(A) receptors play into the whole thing. From my research, I couldn't find a single legitimate source that shows that folic acid binds to GABA(A) receptors. This hypothesis of yours seems solely based on pseudoscience and the all "natural" argument.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyeliam View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Depends. Folate is water-soluble, so might never build up to harmful concentrations, excess being washed out in urine. "Natural" has little to do with it, botulin toxin is "natural", as is rattlesnake venom.
    The analogy isn't really appropriate. Botulin toxin and rattlesnake venom are not essential micronutrients. Folate is an essential micronutrient and billions of years of evolutiuon have fine tuned organisms to its use in amounts we get in diet.

    Folic acid is unnatural in the diet and is used by the pharmaceutical industry in preference to folate because it is a much more stable molecule. It has a more powerful antagonistic action at the GABA(A) receptor than folate.

    Maternal intake of only two drugs are known to be associated with a higher incidence of autism in offspring. One is valproic acid, an anti-convulsant. The other is thalidomide. The therapeutic action of both drugs is at the GABA(A) receptor.
    You do know that folate and folic acid are the same substance. Like not even isomers of each other, but the EXACT same substance, with the exact same structure. The only difference is how they are synthesized. And I really don't see how the GABA(A) receptors play into the whole thing. From my research, I couldn't find a single legitimate source that shows that folic acid binds to GABA(A) receptors. This hypothesis of yours seems solely based on pseudoscience and the all "natural" argument.

    No, they are different molecules. Folate is the natural vitamin, found in food, and the term 'folate' actually refers to a few different molecules. However, folate is unstable and would break down in pills, so the more stable folic acid is used. This requires to be converted to folate by an enzyme. The efficiency of the conversion process is highly variable, with a fivefold difference in the rate of conversion between the most and least efficient converters.

    Here is an abstract from a PubMed paper.


    Abstract

    The biochemical mechanism responsible for the convulsive effects
    of folates was investigated. The epileptogenic effects of folates were
    determined in vivo by quantification of the seizures following intracortical
    application in rats. The rank order of epileptogenic effects is: folic acid
    greater than or equal to 5-HCO-H4 folate greater than H2 folate greater than
    5-CH3-H4 folate. This sequence of epileptogenicity in vivo is compared to the
    rank order of the effects of folates on radioligand binding to the
    GABAA-receptor complex in vitro. The inhibitory potencies of folates on
    [3H]muscimol and [3H]diazepam bindings did not correlate with their
    epileptogenic effects. However, folates reverse the inhibiting effect of GABA on
    the binding of the cage convulsant [3H]TBOB [( 3H]t-butylbicycloorthobenzoate).
    The rank order of this in vitro effect (folic acid greater than 5-HCO-H4 folate
    greater than H2 folate = 5-CH3-H4 folate) resembles the rank order of
    epileptogenicity determined in vivo. A relationship between the in vivo and in
    vitro effects is therefore suggested.PMID: 2166659 [PubMed - indexed for
    MEDLINE]
    Last edited by Yonza; October 11th, 2012 at 09:12 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    No, they are different molecules. Folate is the natural vitamin, found in food, and the term 'folate' actually refers to a few different molecules.
    If anyone else is curious about this (it isn't clear in many sources) this page compares the structure of folic acid and a few folate forms: Chapter 4. Folate and folic acid
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    No, they are different molecules. Folate is the natural vitamin, found in food, and the term 'folate' actually refers to a few different molecules.
    If anyone else is curious about this (it isn't clear in many sources) this page compares the structure of folic acid and a few folate forms: Chapter 4. Folate and folic acid
    I looked over this (I'm in a rush, so unfortunately it was brief), and from what I understand, there are multiple folates, and the supplement taken by women, folic acid, is just one of these. However, from what I can tell folic acid is naturally produced.
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    Thought you would like to know:
    http://www.clinicalepigeneticsjournal.com/content/pdf/1868-7083-4-6.pdf
    Executive Summary: High Fructose Corn Syrup

    Conclusion
    The number of children ages 6 to 21 in the U.S. receiving special education services under the autism disability category increased 91% between 2005 to 2010 despite fewer children receiving special education services overall during the same time period. A comparison of autism prevalence between the U.S. and Italy using the Mercury Toxicity Model suggests the increase in autism in the U.S. is not related to mercury exposure from fish, coal-fired power plants, thimerosal, or dental amalgam but instead to the consumption of HFCS. Consumption of HFCS may lead to mineral imbalances, including Zn, Ca and P loss and Cu gain and is a potential source of inorganic mercury exposure. These mineral imbalances create multiple pathways for oxidative stress in the brain from exposure to OP pesticides and heavy metals, such as Pb or Hg. Inorganic mercury and fructose exposure from HFCS consumption may both modulate PON1 gene expression. With a reduction in PON1 activity, there is a potential for increasing homocysteine levels which are associated with genome-wide DNA hypomethylation that may carry over from one generation to the next, affecting both neurodevelopment and autism prevalence.
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    I doubt that study would be very persuasive to most of the autism-is-caused-by-vaccination-or-any-other-chemical brigade. They strongly resist the idea it could have anything, anything at all, to do with the parents' genetic make-up or diet or anything else. It has to be the fault of an evil entity like the dreaded Big Pharma.

    And I doubt too many would pick up the inference from

    ... fewer children receiving special education services overall during the same time period.
    which supports the idea that autism diagnoses are often 'substitute' diagnoses. 10 or 20 years earlier many of these children would have been classified as intellectually delayed or behaviourally challenged in some way.

    The fact there are fewer of them overall indicates the success of vaccination programs preventing rubella especially. To a lesser extent it might, only might, suggest decreased incidence of sequelae from meningitis or encephalitis associated with measles in younger infants.
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    Well if people are going to flat out ignore the evidence I guess we can't really help them. But for everyone else... er... don't use high fructose corn syrup!
    "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is... doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh*t dead wrong."

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaL View Post
    Thought you would like to know:
    http://www.clinicalepigeneticsjournal.com/content/pdf/1868-7083-4-6.pdf
    Executive Summary: High Fructose Corn Syrup

    Conclusion
    The number of children ages 6 to 21 in the U.S. receiving special education services under the autism disability category increased 91% between 2005 to 2010 despite fewer children receiving special education services overall during the same time period. A comparison of autism prevalence between the U.S. and Italy using the Mercury Toxicity Model suggests the increase in autism in the U.S. is not related to mercury exposure from fish, coal-fired power plants, thimerosal, or dental amalgam but instead to the consumption of HFCS. Consumption of HFCS may lead to mineral imbalances, including Zn, Ca and P loss and Cu gain and is a potential source of inorganic mercury exposure. These mineral imbalances create multiple pathways for oxidative stress in the brain from exposure to OP pesticides and heavy metals, such as Pb or Hg. Inorganic mercury and fructose exposure from HFCS consumption may both modulate PON1 gene expression. With a reduction in PON1 activity, there is a potential for increasing homocysteine levels which are associated with genome-wide DNA hypomethylation that may carry over from one generation to the next, affecting both neurodevelopment and autism prevalence.

    Thanks for the link. I was unaware that autistic children have a greater incidence of paraoxonase 1 gene variation than controls. This enzyme metabolizes organophosphate pesticides. Apparenly, autistic children show both reduced amounts of the enzyme and an increased frequency of a less efficient variant of the enzyme. This means they are more susceptible to the harmful effects of organophosphates. I mention in my opening post that organophosphates are one of the chemicals which have been associated with autism and, like folic acid, they suppress GABA(A) transmission, probably by receptor antagonism.

    In my opinion, there is far too much coincidence here for it not to be causal. The only question is how great is the contribution? I find it very odd that otherwise intelligent people seem incapable of ascribing meaning to such coincidence, preferring to intone the mantra 'correlation is not causation', like we're 10 year olds who haven't worked that one out, yet. How much correlation does it take?

    After reading the link, I put [PON1 autism] into he PubMed search. Only 5 papers came up, but they make interesting reading.

    pon1 autism - PubMed - NCBI
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    "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is... doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh*t dead wrong."

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    Found an interesting theory:

    1) http://autismjabberwocky.blogspot.co...tism-aka.html:
    Here we have yet another improbable result from this study. So, what could be going on?

    When you consider the facts that folic acid plays a role in maintaining and repairing genetic code and that autism seems to littered with many rare genetic mutations, it might be possible that taking too much folic acid during pregnancy could increase the chances of a child having autism. However, even though the timing (1993 onwards) might agree with rising autism rates and there might be some kind-of plausible mechanism for the relationship, I don't think that this is likely.

    Which leads to another possibility. I am sure that most of you have heard the oft-repeated phrase about how correlation does not imply causation - this would be a classic example of it. It is possible that folic acid use is highly related to another factor and it is this other factor that is causing autism. If I had to guess, folic acid use during pregnancy could be be correlated withaffluence. Meaning that mothers who are more well-off are more likely to wait until later in life to have children and are more likely to do the "right" things during pregnancy - such as take folic acid. But it is equally likely that this relationship could be flipped and affluence, which has been linked elsewhere to a higher risk of autism, is the dependant factor and it folic acid use that is the causative factor. That is the problem with these sorts of relatinships, you are never quite sure what is a cause and what is simply along for the ride.

    Another explanation would be that the association would happen by simple dumb luck. Even with all of the robust methodologies and fancy statistics that researchers use, it is still possible for a significant result to appear that is due to simple random chance. This is why it is very important that all scientific findings be replicated by other researchers using a different set of data. The fact that thimerosal is actually protective has been suggested by other studies but I am not aware of any others finding a relationship with folic acid use.
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    Arn't there foodstuffs fortified with folic acid?
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    I just found out my girlfriend has two genetic mutations on the MTHFR genes. So I have been doing a lot of research on the subject. This genetic mutation is still not fully understood but, from what I understand, that folic acid vitamins and fortifications are one of the causes for this mutation. There is a definite correlation between autism and MTHFR mutations given that having MTHFR greatly increases your chances of autism. I also found out that there is quite a difference between getting folate naturally and through vitamins. Studies in Sweden where folic acid is not fortified in the food it has shown that too much folic acid intake from vitamins and fortified foods decreases the natural killer cells in your bloodstream. So they have discovered increased cancer rates and fatalities from people that use large folic acid supplements. This does not happen with folates because of the way it is synthesized. Please let me know if I am wrong b/c I am totally new to this MTHFR.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    Well, there is little dispute that some of the increased incidence is due to increased awareness and, in particular, to a much broader definition of the condition compared to the diagnostic criteria used in the 70s. The question is 'How much?' I don't know what percentage of researchers believe this explains all of the rise and what percentage believe that the rise is too great to be accounted for by broadening diagnostic criteria, and therefore environmental factors must also be implicated.

    This graph shows the number of US residents aged 6-17 diagnosed with autism (per 1,000) from 1996-2007. It just doesn't seem likely that there could be such a dramatic increase in 12 years due to changing diagnostic criteria:


    US-autism-6-17-1996-2007.jpg

    Why? Many other problems have also gone through similar dramatic increases as well over the past several decades with public awareness, teacher and other caregiver training to recognize potential problems and resources by many states to diagnose and treat --such as incidence of child abuse.
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  66. #65  
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    When I was young and actually trying to get pregnant, I was told by my ob/gyn and read in many medical journals that she referred me to that lack of folic acid in the mother's body at conception can lead to the inability to conceive as well as the higher risk to deficient brain development of the fetus. It's been a long time since I read these things and have no recollection of the journal titles. but I had very low folic acid in my system when I conceived my first child and he exhibited mild signs of autism (formerly aspergers syndrome). But then so do I. Obviously I don't know what my mothers average intake of folic acid was when I was conceived.

    but then new information comes to light all the time and the interpretation of the data has to reflect that new information.
    Speaking badly about people after they are gone and jumping on the bash the band wagon must do very well for a low self-esteem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lmartin0825 View Post
    I just found out my girlfriend has two genetic mutations on the MTHFR genes. So I have been doing a lot of research on the subject. This genetic mutation is still not fully understood but, from what I understand, that folic acid vitamins and fortifications are one of the causes for this mutation. There is a definite correlation between autism and MTHFR mutations given that having MTHFR greatly increases your chances of autism. I also found out that there is quite a difference between getting folate naturally and through vitamins. Studies in Sweden where folic acid is not fortified in the food it has shown that too much folic acid intake from vitamins and fortified foods decreases the natural killer cells in your bloodstream. So they have discovered increased cancer rates and fatalities from people that use large folic acid supplements. This does not happen with folates because of the way it is synthesized. Please let me know if I am wrong b/c I am totally new to this MTHFR.
    MTHFR is an enzyme that catalyzes folate. Genetic mutations of this gene reduce its efficiency. These mutations are not caused by foilc acid, but folic acid supplementation may (theoretically) exacerbate problems arising from the mutation.

    Some research hypothesizes that folic acid protects against new cancer development, but may stimulate the growth of existing cancers.
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    lack of folic acid in the mother's body at conception can lead to the inability to conceive as well as the higher risk to deficient brain development of the fetus.
    That's an odd way to put it. The main benefit is in reducing neural tube defects, principally spina bifida. See the Prevention heading at the wiki entry. Spina bifida - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    lack of folic acid in the mother's body at conception can lead to the inability to conceive as well as the higher risk to deficient brain development of the fetus.
    That's an odd way to put it. The main benefit is in reducing neural tube defects, principally spina bifida. See the Prevention heading at the wiki entry. Spina bifida - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    I am probably not remembering it quite right. That was way back before internet was the way of life. I had to go by what my doctor told me and what I tried to understand from the medicine journal she gave me to read, some magazine. The article had plenty of words I didn't understand a even more context that was as foreign to me as anything could possibly be. I was an 18 year old high school drop out at the time who thought she knew everything and was ready to be a mom. Seems I remember something about not taking in too much caffeine too. I could be confusing the two maybe. Motherhood certainly taught me just how stupid I was.
    Speaking badly about people after they are gone and jumping on the bash the band wagon must do very well for a low self-esteem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonza View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lmartin0825 View Post
    I just found out my girlfriend has two genetic mutations on the MTHFR genes. So I have been doing a lot of research on the subject. This genetic mutation is still not fully understood but, from what I understand, that folic acid vitamins and fortifications are one of the causes for this mutation. There is a definite correlation between autism and MTHFR mutations given that having MTHFR greatly increases your chances of autism. I also found out that there is quite a difference between getting folate naturally and through vitamins. Studies in Sweden where folic acid is not fortified in the food it has shown that too much folic acid intake from vitamins and fortified foods decreases the natural killer cells in your bloodstream. So they have discovered increased cancer rates and fatalities from people that use large folic acid supplements. This does not happen with folates because of the way it is synthesized. Please let me know if I am wrong b/c I am totally new to this MTHFR.
    MTHFR is an enzyme that catalyzes folate. Genetic mutations of this gene reduce its efficiency. These mutations are not caused by foilc acid, but folic acid supplementation may (theoretically) exacerbate problems arising from the mutation.

    Some research hypothesizes that folic acid protects against new cancer development, but may stimulate the growth of existing cancers.
    Ok thanks for the information. Since this gene mutation, which can't properly catalyze folates, gives increased risk to autism/down syndrome, could folic acid supplementation cause problems if the mother is on a heavy dose during the pregnancy with a child that has MTHFR mutations?
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    Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.
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