Folic Acid and folate are types of vitamin B9 which are water soluble. While folate is found in its natural source in food, Folic Acid is the synthetic version of this vitamin primarily taken to fill in for folate deficiency. Foods that are already high in folate include green leafy vegetables, fruits, beets, beans, mushrooms, egg yolk, potato, milk, yeast, meat items such as kidney and beef liver. Under the orders of the Federal law Folic Acid has been added to a number of food items since 1998. Some of them are: pasta, bakery items, cookies, crackers, flour and cereals.
Aside from the treatment of folate deficiency, Folic Acid is also used to cure anemia, kidney dialysis, alcoholism, liver disease and the improper absorption of nutrients by the bowel. Although the benefits of using Folic Acid vastly outnumber the drawbacks, there maybe a few side effects such as loss of appetite, nausea, insomnia, depression, anxiety and gas. Unlike most other drugs or medications Folic Acid is actually great for pregnant women and those who are planning to become soon. Folic Acid is recommended for pregnant womem in order to avoid any chances of birth defects. Those who are yet to become pregnant but are considering it are advised to start taking it for one whole year before conceiving.
As a preventive measure get some tests done to ensure that you are in full capacity to take Folic Acid and also inform your doctor if you have a kidney disease, an infection, are alcoholic or have pernicious and or hemolytic anemia.
If you are thinking about conceiving then the dose for Folic Acid is 400 mcg, about 400 mcg during the first three months of pregnancy and around 500 mcg when you are breastfeeding your baby. Taking Folic Acid reduces the risk of cleft lip, premature birth, miscarriage and low birth weight. Do not overdose, in case of a missed one, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is already time for your next dose then skip the previous missed dose entirely for the day. In case of overdose, contact your doctor right away.
Folic acid is an important form of vitamin B, which women must take during pregnancy. It is a form of man-made vitamin B known as folate. Folate plays a significant role in producing red blood cells and helps in the development of your baby’s neural tube into the brain and spinal cord, preventing any kind of birth defects in your baby. Birth defects of the brain or spinal cord may occur in early stages of pregnancy.
Therefore, by the time a woman discovers her pregnancy, it may become too late to prevent the defects.
How much folic acid should be taken?
A woman should start taking folic acid within the first three to four weeks of pregnancy, as birth defects may occur during this time. Women who start taking folic acid a year before getting pregnant produce healthy babies without birth defects.
400 mcg of folic acid is the recommended dose for all women who are of childbearing age and also in the first trimester of pregnancy. Multivitamins with the recommended amount of folate and folic acid supplements are generally prescribed as they help the mother deliver a healthy child. From the fourth to ninth month of pregnancy, the dose must be increased to 600 mcg.
Benefits of folic acid
Having a sufficient supply of folic acid prevents these neural defects from developing in your baby.
Taking folic acid before and during pregnancy protects your baby against many other conditions. They include:
1. Cleft lip and palate
2. Low weight during birth
3. Chances of miscarriage
4. Premature birth
Folic acid also reduces the risk of developing pregnancy complications in the mother such as heart diseases, stroke, several cancers and Alzheimer’s disease. Folic acid is naturally found in dark-green vegetables, which you must consume in abundance. Other sources of folic acid include fortified breakfast cereals, beef liver, lentils, egg noodles and great northern beans. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!