Pregnancy News: Too Much Folate & B12 Increase Risk of Autism Disorders

pregnancy news folate autismRecent research to be shown by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that too much folate may lead to an increased risk of children being born with an autism spectrum disorder.

Study Background

The study, which was performed by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found some interesting information.

High Levels of Folate:
The study found that mothers who possessed very high levels of folate in their blood flow shortly after giving birth were twice as likely to have a child with a developmental disorder such as autism than new mothers who had normal levels of this vitamin in their blood.

High Levels of Vitamin B12:
The study also found that new mothers with very high levels of vitamin B12 in their blood shortly after giving birth were three times more likely to have children with autism disorder compared to new mothers who had normal levels of this vitamin.

If both levels are high, then researchers say the risk increased to 17.6 times. That’s a significant difference and both findings will be presented to the International Meeting for Autism Research in Baltimore on May 13, 2016.

What is Folate?

Folate and folic acid are both nutrients that our bodies must receive as part of a daily, healthy diet. Pregnant mothers are told to receive an adequate amount of both folate and vitamin B12 to ensure a smooth pregnancy void from developmental risks. This has been a long-standing notion.

Folate is found naturally in many foods such as beans, spinach, avocado, lentils, asparagus, lettuce, broccoli, wheat bread, and other sources.

What the Study Means?

One of the study’s senior authors mentions:

“We have long known that a folate deficiency in pregnant mothers is detrimental to her child’s development. But what this tells us is that excessive amounts may also cause harm. We must aim for optimal levels of this important nutrient.”

Unfortunately, researchers do not exactly know how much is considered “too much”, but at least we now know the dangers of either too much or too little folate or vitamin B12 in pregnant mothers. This research helps pave the way to a better understanding of the causes of autism disorder, which aids in the discovery to find more effective ways to either cure the issue, treat the issue, or help prevent it.

Currently, one in 68 children in the U.S. are believed to have an autism disorder.

Let’s Talk Menopause: Sexual Function & Desire

menopause-loss-sex-driveAs a woman ages, there will come a point in their life where reproduction is no longer possible because menstruation periods come to a halt. For many women, this is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because menstruation stops and you no longer have to bear through the inevitable pains that occur or worry about becoming pregnant. A curse because there are often many undesired effects or symptoms as a result of menopause.

Loss of Sex Drive from Menopause

First off, let’s establish exactly what symptoms women experience during menopause:

• Night sweats
• Hot flashes
• Unexplained weight gain
• Moodiness
• Fatigue

Just those symptoms alone may result in a decreased drive to have sex. Now, what if the vagina wasn’t being properly lubricated, or suffers atrophy, or the vaginal wall thins or becomes inflamed? These symptoms occur is up to 45% of women post menopause, or after menopause.

You guessed it; the desire for sex will now be even lower. This is because libido is all about energy. The symptoms above all lead to one thing: less energy. This physical and emotional toll that occurs depletes a woman of her energy and inevitably sex will be the last thing on her mind.

Lower Estrogen Levels Are to Blame

What happens during menopause is the estrogen that is naturally produced in the body is no longer being produced as much. This hormone change results in all the symptoms listed above. The symptoms above unfortunately lead to a huge decrease in sex drive. A decreased sex drive could result in tension between you and your spouse or partner.

Managing Your Decreased Sex Drive

Focus on Intimacy

Spend more time cuddling with each other or enjoying each other’s company without engaging in sexual activity. You will appreciate each other more and this could boost your sex drive.

Seek Out Professional Help

If you and your partner feels affected by your newly decreased libido, then you should consult your OBGYN who will work with you to resolve the issue. And often times all that is needed is lubrication. But other options such as hormone therapy involving restoring estrogen levels may be the solution.

Dr. Torbati offers treatment for postmenopausal loss of sex drive at his OB-GYN private practice located in Tarzana, CA.