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A lot of people suggest taking folic acid supplements to expecting mothers for a healthy pregnancy. But why? Why is folic acid that important? What is so ideal about folic acid supplements? Yeah, a lot of questions are bound to pop up. This article will explain the entire deal about this particular acid and why it is that important.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B called Folate and it plays an essential role in the production of red blood cells, the formation of the neural tube of the baby, development of the spinal cord. Here is a list of benefits of Folic acid
- Folic acid, as discussed, helps in preventing neural tube defects.
- Serious birth defects like Spina bifida and anencephaly can be prevented if you take folic acid regularly.
- Other defects like cleft palate or cleft lip have also seen to be prevented when mothers have taken proper doses of folic acid.
- Certain types of heart defects can also be avoided.
- A serious blood pressure disorder called preeclampsia affects a lot of pregnant women but folic acid intake can help in the prevention of such a condition.
- Folic acid helps in prevention of anaemia
- The production, function and repair of a normal DNA also require intake of folic acid.
- Folic acid also enables rapid cell growth, therefore, rapid growth of the developing baby.
Now, these neural defects can occur at a very young stage, even before the proper development of the foetus. Hence, it is suggested that to be mothers start taking folic acid right from the beginning. Experts usually recommend about 400 micrograms of folic acid every day in the beginning, when one is trying to get pregnant. However, even during pregnancy crossing the level of 1000 micrograms per day is to be avoided.
Where can you get folic acid from?
Fortified cereals are usually the best food sources of folic acid. Natural folic acid can also be found in naturally dark green vegetables and in various kinds of citrus fruits. Folic acid supplements are also available. Other food sources of folic acid include-
- Beef liver
- Mature lentil seeds
- Egg noodles
- Great northern beans
There are certain situations in which one might require extra folic acid, the reasons might be
- If the mother is overweight.
- If the mother has been pregnant previously
- If the mother is carrying twins.
- Women with a genetic variation of MTHFR in which the body has difficulty in processing folic acid. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.
The human digestive system is a very complicated and sizeable component of the body. It starts right at the beginning of the mouth, ending at the rectum. Some of the major responsibilities of the digestive system include absorption of essential nutrients and elimination of wastes.
Not only do digestive problems have embarrassing and unwanted symptoms, serious, chronic diseases can be caused if the minor problems are not treated.
Some digestive problems are listed below:
- GERD: This is a burning sensation that results from acids in the stomach being squirted into the oesophagus. A burning sensation is felt, right from the chest to the end of the throat. Frequent heartburns can lead to GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), symptoms of which include dry cough, sore throat, chest discomfort and difficulty in swallowing.
- Bloating: This is caused due to the presence of excess gas in the colon, small intestines or the stomach.
- Dyspepsia: This is an uncomfortable feeling or pain which occurs in the upper abdominal regions, mostly a result of excess food intake. It is commonly referred to as indigestion. Dyspepsia can be discomforting and if prolonged, medical assistance should be opted for.
- Chronic Constipation: Persistent constipation (chronic) is a sign that there is a problem with the elimination of wastes. This usually happens when the colon is unable to move or pass stools. Other major causes of chronic constipation can be changes in your usual diet, various eating disorders, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and excessive consumption of dairy products among others.
- Food Intolerance: This occurs when the digestive system is unable to tolerate certain food items. This condition is different from food allergies as it only affects the digestive system. Some of the common symptoms include diarrhoea, headache, gas and vomiting.
Possible Serious Conditions-
A gastroenterologist is a type of doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases involving the digestive system. If you continue to experience digestion problems, it’s time to make an appointment.
More serious signs could mean an emergency medical problem. Those signs include:
- bloody stools
- continuous vomiting
- severe abdominal cramps
- sudden, unintentional weight loss
These symptoms could be an indication of an infection, gallstones, hepatitis, internal bleeding, or cancer.
You may be able to overcome digestion problems with treatment and lifestyle changes. Certain diseases of the digestive system might be long-term, but medications can help alleviate symptoms.
Identifying specific digestion problems and talking with a gastroenterologist can go a long way in terms of helping your doctor give you a proper diagnosis. Remember, you don’t have to put up with constant digestive issues. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!