Autism is a disorder with major deficits in social interaction, communication and imaginative play. The disorder represents a spectrum of problems associated with child stereotyped behavior with bizarre interests.
Much has been known regarding autism but still it remains a difficult diagnosis for the paediatric sspecialty With sufficient researches pointing genetics as major cause of autism, the definitive aetiology of autism is still unclear. Also genetics alone cannot explain autism, leaving toxins and nutrients contributing to the prevalence of the disorder.
From the past two decades, the theory that has gained significant acceptance regarding autism is the relationship between maternal diet and the affected child’s birth . In accordance with a U.S study on autism, results suggest that low iron intake during the gestational period is the reason behind this disorder. The study that was conducted in University of Carolina concluded that mothers who avoid taking iron supplements before and during pregnancy are more likely to produce autistic babies. The risk is five times increased in these women as compared to women with good iron levels .The risk is more if maternal age is 35 or more, and has co-morbid conditions like hypertension and diabetes , obesity is yet another inevitable variable.
Dr.Rebecca J.Schmidt a study co-investigator in this research told that the connection between low maternal iron levels and increased risk for autism is strongest during breastfeeding. In this regard the American researches claim to be the first ones’ to investigate the association between a mother’s iron consumption and the chances to give birth to an autistic child. In 2011, the studies were conducted to analyze how low folic acid levels contribute in development of autism.
The study done in North Carolina is named CHARGE or Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment and is published in American Journal of Epidemiology. The research was done for a time period of 7 years from 2002-2009. The data comprised of 346 moms, some with normal children, and others with autistic offspring. The focus was laid on all the available nutritional sources of iron a mother can take -including vitamins, supplements and cereals .The maternal iron diet was checked three month prior to pregnancy, during birth up to breast feeding period.
Nevertheless, iron deficiency is extremely common during pregnancy therefore globally scientists are working to introduce nurturing ways to help women fight problems related to child birth by good iron intake. Schmidt also added that iron is an essential nutrient promoting to normal brain development ,during early stages of antenatal life.