Folic acid or folate is well known for its value in the prevention of certain birth defects. It may have some other significant health benefit as well. It is said that women who take more folic acid have a reduced risk of getting high blood pressure.
Folic acid is a type of vitamin B present in foods like leafy green vegetables, fruits, peas, and dried beans. You can find a synthetic form of folic acid in dietary supplements and fortified foods. Folic acid works by helping your body produce and maintain new cells. Especially, red blood cell formation is dependent upon ample levels of this vitamin. Folic acid deficiency causes anemia in both adults and children. Folate might also help cells resist changes in their DNA linked with the development of cancer.
If you’re planning to become pregnant, you must know the importance of folic acid to ensure a healthy pregnancy. It helps in the growth of your baby’s neural tube into the brain and spinal cord, avoiding any kind of birth defects in your baby. Birth defects of the brain or spinal cord may happen in the early stages of pregnancy. Therefore, a woman must start taking folic acid within the first three to four weeks of pregnancy.
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 normally given as they help the mother deliver a healthy child. From the fourth to ninth month of pregnancy, the dose should be increased to 600 mcg.
Without adequate folic acid in your body, the neural tube of your developing baby may not close properly. This may lead to neural tube defects like Spina bifida and Anencephaly. Folic acid also prevents your baby against other problems as well like Cleft lip and palate, premature birth and low birth weight.
Folic acid decreases the risk of getting pregnancy complications in the mother like heart diseases, stroke, several cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease