Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9 or folate, is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B complex of vitamins and that participates in various body functions, mainly in the creation of DNA and the genetic content of cells.
In addition, folic acid is important for maintaining the health of the brain, vascular and immune system. This vitamin can be found in various foods such as spinach, beans, brewer’s yeast and asparagus, but it can also be obtained in the form of supplements that can be found in pharmacies or health food stores and here in our store eistria is a source of health.
What is folic acid for?
Folic acid can be used for various purposes in the body, such as:
Maintain brain health, preventing problems such as depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, because folic acid participates in the synthesis of dopamine and norepinephrine;
Promotes the formation of the fetal nervous system during pregnancy, preventing defects in the neural tube, such as spina bifida and anencephaly;
Prevent anemia , because it stimulates the production of blood cells, including red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells;
It prevents some types of cancer, such as colon cancer , lungs, breast and pancreas, because folic acid participates in gene expression and in the production of DNA and RNA, and therefore its consumption can prevent malignant genetic changes in cells;
It prevents cardiovascular diseases, because it maintains the health of blood vessels and reduces homocysteine, which can affect the development of these diseases.
In addition, folic acid can also strengthen the immune system because it participates in the creation and repair of DNA, however no additional studies are needed to prove this effect.
Recommended amount of folic acid
The amount of folic acid consumed per day can vary depending on age, as shown below:
0 to 6 months: 65 mcg;
7 to 12 months: 80 mcg;
1 to 3 years: 150 mcg;
4 to 8 years: 200 mcg;
9 to 13 years: 300 mcg;
14 years and older: 400 mcg;
Pregnant women: 400 mcg.
Folic acid supplementation should always be performed under medical supervision, which is recommended in cases of deficiency of this vitamin, in case of anemia and for pregnant women.
Side effects and contraindications to supplementation
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin and therefore its excess is easily removed in the urine. However, the use of folic acid supplements without medical advice can cause problems such as abdominal pain, nausea, itchy skin or anemia. The maximum amount of this vitamin per day is 5000 mcg, an amount that is usually not exceeded by a balanced diet.
In case of using drugs against epilepsy or rheumatism, the addition of folic acid should be consumed only with medical advice.
Should I drink folic acid before I get pregnant?
It is recommended to take 1,400 mcg tablets of folic acid at least 30 days before pregnancy and during pregnancy, or according to the gynecologist’s indication, in order to prevent fetal malformations and reduce the risk of preeclampsia or premature birth.
Although it is generally recommended 30 days before conception, the Ministry of Health recommends that all women of childbearing age supplement with folic acid, so that it is possible to prevent complications in case of unplanned pregnancy.
Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that, if taken in appropriate doses, helps prevent some health problems such as heart disease, anemia, Alzheimer’s disease or heart attack, as well as fetal malformations.
Folic acid can be taken daily in the form of tablets, but also by eating vegetables, fruits and cereals, for example spinach, broccoli, lentils or cereals.
Does taking folic acid help you get pregnant?
Taking folic acid does not help in conception, but it reduces the risk of malformations of the spinal cord and the baby’s brain, such as spina bifida or anencephaly, as well as problems in pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and premature birth.
Doctors recommend consuming folic acid to women before they become pregnant, because many of them lack this vitamin, and it is necessary to start supplementing before conception. Usually, food is not enough to provide the necessary amounts of folic acid in pregnancy, and that is why a pregnant woman should take multivitamin supplements.
How long should you take folic acid before you get pregnant?
It is recommended that a woman start supplementing with folic acid at least 1 month before conception in order to prevent changes related to the formation of the baby’s brain and spinal cord, which begin in the first 3 weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, when a woman starts planning a pregnancy, it is recommended that she start supplementation.
The Ministry of Health recommends that all women of reproductive age, between the ages of 14 and 35, take folic acid supplements to avoid possible problems in case of unplanned pregnancy.
How long should I take folic acid during pregnancy?
Folic acid supplementation should be maintained during pregnancy until 3. trimester, or according to the indication of the obstetrician who monitors the pregnancy, because it is possible to prevent anemia during pregnancy, which could also interfere with the development of the baby.