A study conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide showed that folic acid intake at the latter part of pregnancy is linked with asthma in young children.
500 pregnant women who took supplemental folic acid at the latter part of their pregnancy– from the 30th week on — were included in the study. Their children were checked for asthma at 3.5 and 5.5 years old. The result showed 11.6 % of children had asthma at age 3.5 while 11.8 % were found to have asthma at 5.5 years old.
No evidence was found to show that intake of folic acid during the early part of pregnancy can cause any adverse effects.
There was also no link between mothers’ folate intake from food and an increased asthma risk in their children; folate is the natural form of folic acid, found in foods such as beans and lentils, orange juice, peanuts and green vegetables like spinach and broccoli.
Researchers emphasize that it is too early to give pregnant women any specific advice based on the results. Experts globally still recommend the intake of supplementary folic acid, especially before conception and in the first trimester of their pregnancy. The recommended dose is 400mg daily. Doing this can reduce risk of neural tube birth defects.
Source:American Journal of Epidemiology, December 15, 2009.