When advertisements talk about folic acid helping the brain development of babies, they're not just trying to get you to buy their product; there's actually truth to what they're saying. According to a feature on Today.com, folic acid reduces the risk of autism in children.

A total of 85,176 babies born between ages three and 10 were followed by researchers in a study originally published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They examined mothers who had taken folic acid supplements four weeks prior to pregnancy until eight weeks after the start of pregnancy. A follow up on the children was also conducted.

The results showed that 270 children were diagnosed with autism spectrum, a classification of specific developmental disorders. Mothers who had taken folic acid supplements reduced the chances of their children suffering from mental conditions by 40 percent.

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Folic acid is a B-vitamin, which helps fight against neural tube defects which can affect the formation of the baby's skull, spine, and brain.

It also lessens the unborn child's risk of having congenital heart defects, and many ob-gyns recommend expectant moms to increase their folic acid intake. If you're pregnant, you can choose from many folic acid supplements out in the market, but you can also go natural by eating green and leafy vegetables, beans, eggs, and liver.

(Photo by Sharon Drummond via Flickr Creative Commons)

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