In 1999, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland set the levels of the recommended intake of zinc at 15 mg/d or 20 mg/d (if pregnant or lactating). In previous projects, our research team became interested especially in the supply of the trace element zinc. In mice, insufficient zinc uptake is associated with symptoms of autism in the offspring.
Whether low intake of zinc occurs in humans during pregnancy and whether this is a risk factor for autism is currently not well investigated. Therefore, we launched a study to understand how common low levels of zinc intake in women and pregnant women in Ireland are, and if low zinc intake is detected, whether it is associated with a greater risk to develop autism. Therefore, with the help of a questionnaire we aim to to understand the influence of the diet during pregnancy on the health of the developing baby (in particular with regards to the development of ASD).