Archive for the ‘Folic Acid’ Category

What you need to know about folic acid…

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Folic acid is the man made version of an essential vitamin naturally found in foods. When the vitamin is natural and found in foods it is called folate, but when it is added to foods, such as grains, or taken as a vitamin supplement it is called folic acid. A deficiency of folate can wreak havoc on the body causing a type of anemia, and making you feel horrible. More to the fact having a deficiency of folate while pregnant has been directly related to abnormal fetus development and death. It is recommended that every woman of child bearing age should take a folic acid supplement to avoid such dangers as this, but folic acid is beneficial to everyone, even men.

Folate/folic acid is a water soluble B vitamin that helps produce DNA and form healthy new cells; when folate/folic acid combines with vitamin B12 it helps create new red blood cells. This ability to create DNA and red blood cells is essentially what makes taking a folic acid supplement so important. Foods that are rich in folate, or enriched with folic acid, are dark green vegetables, beans and grains including cereal. Also, fruits such as cantaloupe, honey dew melon, oranges, and grapefruit juice are a great source of folate as well.

Most folic acid supplements deliver 400mcg of the vitamin daily. While this is the normal amount of folic acid in a supplement, it is still important to check the labels to be sure. It is important to know that getting too much folate from food is impossible, BUT you can take too much folic acid. Remember folate is naturally occurring, and folic acid is the supplement. No one should consume over 1000 mcg of Folic Acid daily, this can lead to nerve damage in people with lower amounts of vitamin B12. There is no reason to tally your total folate for the day, before deciding to take a folic acid supplement, as the two have no effect on one another. They are essentially the same thing, but different enough to not infere with one another.

Taking a folic acid supplement is important for anyone, but for women of child bearing age it is extremely important. Many women, not planning on getting pregnant, don’t take a folic acid supplement because they are not planning a pregnancy, but the unplanned babies are equally as important as the planned ones. And the fact of the matter is 90% of pregnancies are unplanned. So, let’s do our part and keep our unplanned, surprise babies, healthy as well!