The Importance of Folic Acid
You probably have read lots of information about the need for Folic Acid as part of your daily nutritional intake. Some of the information varies from source to source, so II decided to do some fact finding of my own. Hopefully this article will answer the What, How and Why of Folic Acid.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic Acid is a vitamin B and is used to help the body manufacture healthy new cells. Folic acid and "folate" mean the same thing. Folic acid is a manmade form of folate. Folate is found naturally in some foods. However most women do not get all the folic acid they need through food alone.
Who needs Folic Acid?
Everyone needs folic acid, but it is especially important to women of childbearing age. The intake of folic acid before and during pregnancy helps prevent birth defects such as Spina Bifida and Anencephaly. Folic acid also helps keep your blood healthy.
In addition to women of childbearing age, studies suggest people being treated for these diseases and conditions may need more folic acid. We recommend should also talk to their doctor about how much to take.
- Celiac disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Liver disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sickle cell disease
- Kidney dialysis or,
- Those who regularly consume more than one alcoholic drink a day.
How much folic acid do women need?
Women able to get pregnant need 400 to 800 mcg or micrograms of folic acid every day, even if they are not planning to get pregnant. (This is the same as 0.4 to 0.8 mg or milligrams.) That way, if they do become pregnant, their babies will be less likely to have birth defects. Talk with your doctor about your folic acid intake if you are pregnant or will become, or are breastfeeding.
How can I be sure I am getting daily amount of folic acid? As mentioned earlier, folic acid is vitamin B and as such can be taken orally to insure you get the recommended daily amount. Folic acid can be taken as part of a multi-vitamin (most contain 400 mcg/micrograms of folic acid) or they can take a supplement that contains only folic acid.
What foods contain folic acid?
Folic acid is found naturally in some foods, including leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans (legumes), and whole grains. Folic acid is also added to foods that are labeled "enriched," such as: breads, flour, pastas, cornmeal and white rice to name a few.
More information on folic acid