Nutritional Strategy & Decrease Risk of Autism Disorder

Out of Texas A&M University: “Folic acid has long been touted as an important supplement for women of childbearing age for its ability to prevent defects in the baby’s developing brain and spinal cord. In fact, folic acid is considered so important that it is added as a supplement to breads, pastas, rice and cereals to help ensure that women are exposed to sufficient amounts of this nutrient even before they know they’re pregnant. Soon, another prenatal supplement could protect against a certain type of autism, according to research, called carnitine.”

Furthermore, “Carnitine, which the body can manufacture itself or extract from dietary sources, is required for transport of fatty acids into mitochondria — the compartment within the cell that converts these fats into energy. Previous studies have shown that inherited mutations in a gene (called TMLHE) that is required for carnitine biosynthesis are strongly associated with risk for development of autism-spectrum disorders, but the basis for that association has been unclear — until now. The latest findings show that genetic defects in the body’s ability to manufacture carnitine might be associated with an increased risk of autism because carnitine deficiency interferes with the normal processes by which neural stem cells promote and organize embryonic and fetal brain development.”

The study goes on, “Some pregnant women might absorb enough carnitine from their diet so as to make normal enzyme function less important in the context of autism risk for their babies. High levels of carnitine can be found in red meat, and one of the best vegetarian sources is whole milk. Women who don’t ingest sufficient carnitine, however, might be placing their unborn child at risk.”

In conclusion, “”Here we have indications, at least for some types of autism risk, that a dietary carnitine prevention method might be effective,” Xie said. “For some individuals, this simple nutritional supplement might really help reduce the risk of developing autism spectrum disorder. Any progress on the prevention front would be welcome given the number of people affected.”

The full article is definitely worth the read. Click here.

Texas A&M University. “Research hints at a nutritional strategy for reducing autism risk.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160128130949.htm>.

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