Folic Acid Guide
Folic Acid is a B vitamin which plays a crucial role throughout the body. It promotes healthy cell division and synthesizes amino acids and nucleic acids like DNA. It’s required for healthy development and is incredibly important for pregnant women to ensure good health of the fetus.
Learn everything you need to know about folic acid today in our Folic Acid Guide.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin. It’s important for all human beings but is especially important for pregnant women.
Folic Acid for Women of Childbearing Age
CDC Recommends Daily Folic Acid for All Women of Childbearing Age
Most nutritional organizations around the world recommend taking a daily folic acid multivitamin supplement during pregnancy. Most recommend taking it before you actually become pregnant because it is so important to the health of a child.
The U.S. Public Health Service and CDC actually recommends that “all women of childbearing age” consume 0.4mg (400 micrograms) of folic acid daily. Health Canada echoes that recommendation for “all women who could become pregnant.”
Why is it so important? Your baby’s brain, skull, and spine form during the first few weeks of pregnancy. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, expectant mothers might not even know they’re expecting: they’re not showing any signs, but the fetus is still developing.
In fact, approximately half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, which is why the CDC recommends taking folic acid all the time – even when you’re not expecting a pregnancy. That’s how important folic acid is.
Increased Risk of Birth Defects
If you want your baby’s brain, skull, and spine to properly form, then you need to have enough folic acid in your body. If you’re trying to become pregnant or think there’s a chance you may become pregnant in the near future, then taking a folic acid supplement is extremely important.
Without folic acid, the fetus can develop a neural tube defect (NTD). NTDs are birth defects that occur when the neural tube fails to close properly during the early weeks of pregnancy. This causes the baby to develop abnormalities of the spine, brain, or skull.
It can lead to stillbirths and lifelong disabilities.
The neural tube can close early in pregnancy: even before a woman knows she is pregnant. Some NTDs, like spina bifida and anencephaly are more common the others.
Why does all of this occur?
Folic acid plays a critical role in cell division. Cell division occurs rapidly during the early stages of pregnancy. When the fetus can’t access the folic acid it needs, cells cannot divide properly on their own.
How to Take Folic Acid
Folic acid is more than just a vitamin supplement: it’s also a key ingredient in a lot of the food we eat. Some people are getting more than enough folic acid every day due to their balanced diet.
Foods rich with folic acid include:
— Meats Like Liver
— Dark Green Vegetables Like Broccoli And Spinach
— Grains Such As Whole-Wheat Bread
— Beans Such As Lentils And Kidney Beans
If you don’t like any of those foods, or want to make doubly sure you’re getting enough folic acid, then you can find folic acid supplements at most grocery stores, drug stores, and pharmacies.