Folic acid is one of the earliest nutrients considered important in life. Early in pregnancy it is known that folic acid is required for the development of a healthy baby. Deficiencies in folate can result in neurological defects such as spina bifida. However our brains need optimal levels of folic acid throughout our whole lifetime. This important B vitamin is brought into the brain through receptors. You may be familiar with how certain genes can effect conversion of folate into active forms called MTHF. However less common knowledge is that some people produce antibodies against the receptors that allow for uptake of folate into the brain that can result in cerebral folate deficiency, a deficiency of folate in the brain.
A 2013 (Frye et al) study of 93 children with Autism identified the presence of these antibodies in as many as 75% of the subjects. Treatment of these children with high doses of folate in the form of folinic acid resulted in improvements with verbal communication and attention, and a decrease in stereotypical autistic behaviours.
Cerebral folate receptor antibodies can be measured via a simple blood test. If the antbodies are detected then we can develop a complete naturopathic plan including diet and supplementation to help address the issue.