Prenatal Folic Acid Supplements and Offspring's Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Meta-analysis and Meta-regression

J Autism Dev Disord. 2022 Feb;52(2):522-539. doi: 10.1007/s10803-021-04951-8. Epub 2021 Mar 20.


We systematically reviewed the evidence on the association between maternal folic acid supplementation and the risk of offspring's autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A total of 10 studies with 23 sub-studies (9795 ASD cases) were included. Folic acid supplementation during early pregnancy was associated with a lower risk of offspring's ASD [OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.41-0.78]. The consumption of a daily amount of at least 400 μg folic acid from dietary sources and supplements, was associated with a reduced risk of offspring ASD [OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.36-0.83]. Critical effective maternal folic acid supplementation strategies, such as intake timing and intake dosage, may aid the reduction in the risk of offspring ASD. This meta-analysis provided new insights for the prevention of offspring's ASD.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Folic acid; Meta-analysis; Meta-regression; Prenatal.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / chemically induced
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / epidemiology
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Folic Acid*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamins


  • Vitamins
  • Folic Acid