Folic acid and good grades

Swedish teenagers who consumed more folic acid got better school grades, a small study published in the journal Paediatrics has found.

But don't run out and stock up on the B vitamin with the rest of your school supplies just yet, one expert warns.

"There is very little deficiency of folic acid in North America," said Deborah O'Connor, a nutrition researcher. "If you're already sufficient, there is not a lot of evidence that taking more supplements will help."

Because a lack of the nutrient during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects in babies, certain foods are fortified with folic acid in North America.

The study

During the study, Sweden did not fortify foods, nor did kids use a lot of supplements.

The new study is among the first to examine whether folate is tied to school achievements, according to Dr. Torbjorn Nilsson of Orebro University Hospital and his colleagues.

The researchers looked at 386 15-year-olds who were finishing up ninth grade. When all their grades from ten core classes were added up, there was a clear difference between teens who got the most and the least folic acid in their diets.

Teens in the top third of folic acid intake - more than 253 micrograms per day for girls and 335 for boys - scored grades of 139 out of 200, on average. Those in the bottom third - less than 173 micrograms folic acid per day for girls and 227 for boys - had an average score of only 120.

The differences remained even after the researchers accounted for gender, smoking, the mothers' education and which schools the kids went to.

What supplements do your children take? Share with us below.

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