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What Is Folic Acid and Why Do Women Need It?

What Is Folic Acid and Why Do Women Need It?

folic acid

Everything About Folic Acid

Vitamin B9, most commonly known as folic acid, is a fundamental supplement you should be taking if you are trying to conceive or are pregnant.

If you want to get pregnant, you know how important it is to maintain a healthy eating regimen and get proper rest so that your body can do its work of taking care of your little one. However, sometimes eating nutritious food is not enough; you need to change your approach. For a healthy pregnancy, you must make sure that you are taking folic acid in the period when you are trying to conceive.

The synthetic form of folate is one of the most necessary supplements your body requires to generate new cells. Without Vitamin B9, the duplication of cells by each organ in your body wouldn't take place.

This water-soluble vitamin has a vital job in cell growth. When pregnant, eating folic acid supplements is essential as it prevents neural tube defects (NTDs).

Here's Why You Should Take Folic Acid

NTDs are birth deformities of the spinal cord that affect 300,000 infants roughly worldwide every year. These deformities include spina bifida, anencephaly, Chiari mutation, and types of damage to brain tissue.

spina bifida

NTDs is one the most common causes in 50%-70% of neural tube deformity cases in children, where the mother did not consume any form of folic acid or prenatal supplements. However, you can forestall these symptoms if you take proper supplements both pre and during pregnancy.

The key, in any case, is to take folic acid regularly whether you're planning to get pregnant or you don't want to conceive at the moment. It is because, from the moment you are tested positive for a pregnancy test, your baby has already started creating neurological cells fundamental for the development of his/her mind, spine and body.

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the RDA for folic acid in adult men and women with a sedentary lifestyle is 200 µg per day, and 400 and 300 µg per day for pregnant and lactating women respectively.

pregnant woman eating greens

Folic Acid and Folate: Make It a Daily Habit 

Doctors recommend that if you are of a conceivable age, you should consume folic acid daily. Roughly 22% of women, somewhere between the ages of 12 and 49 years, need to take folic supplements to forestall the signs of NTD.

In addition to the fact that it is critical to get enough folic acid before pregnancy, you should keep taking it through your pregnancy, both for your wellbeing and your child's development and improvement.

In contrast to fat-soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, and K) that stay in the body for more extended periods, folate and folic acid are water-soluble vitamins that you must get consistently.

Folic Acid: How Much Do You Need? 

During pregnancy, women need to consume 400 mcg of folic acid and 300 mcg of folic acid if they are breastfeeding. Folic acid is proven to aid in better breast milk production.

Some women may have to take high dosages — as much as 1,000 micrograms per day, all under a physician's guidance. These include women who have a family background of NTDs, or someone in their family suffering from Sickle-Cell Anemia, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Celiac Disease and other malabsorption issues.

A Final Word From Us

green leafy


Folic acid is one of those nutrients readily available in the form of the food items we consume daily. This easily digestible and absorbing vitamin can be derived from green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, nuts and seeds, and whole-grain food items.  

Fortunately, you can consume too much folate by paying a little attention to the folate-rich food items and eat them alongside your folic acid supplements.

So start your day with a green smoothie, mixed vegetable juice or a plate of sauteed vegetables alongside your supplements, and you're good to go.

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