Why Pregnant Mothers Need Folic Acid | Ultimate Sup
Why Pregnant Mothers Need Folic Acid | Ultimate Sup
by Ultimate Sup Staff on November 23, 2020
Folic acid plays a vital role in the hematopoiesis process and neural tube development. Lacking this nutrient may seriously affect people’s health, especially for women.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a B vitamin. As an essential nutrient, folic acid helps you produce and divide new cells while preventing changes that can lead to cancer in DNA. Also, folic acid can sometimes be used in combination with other drugs to treat anemia.
Although folic acid and folate are used interchangeably, their metabolic effects are quite different. Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 found in some animal and plant foods. Folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin and mainly included in fortified foods.
Vitamin B9 or folic acid is mainly responsible for DNA synthesis and amino acid metabolism. Hence, it is considered the most essential vitamin for pregnant women due to its strong influences on the fetus' health and development. In fact, people take advantage of folic acid to prevent spinal cord defects and develop the fetus’s nervous system.
Folic Acid Sources
Natural folate has a much lower absorption, about 50%. Synthetic folic acid is believed to be 100% absorbable when consumed on an empty stomach. On the other hand, the folic in fortified foods is believed to be only 85% absorbable. Your body cannot make folic acid, so you have to obtain this water-soluble vitamin through dietary intake. Good sources of folic acid include:
Vegetables such as spinach, fish lettuce, okra, asparagus, turnips, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, nuts like dried beans, peas, yeast, and mushrooms.
Fruits like banana, melon, lemon, orange juice, grapefruit.
Beef liver and kidneys.
In addition, you can consider some man-made consumer foods such as milk, breakfast cereals, flour, bread, pasta, baking ingredients, and cookies.
Folic Acid Benefits
The Role Of Folic Acid In Pregnancy
Prevent Birth Defects: During pregnancy, the uterus forms the baby's brain and spinal cord, so having enough folic acid at this critical period will keep the fetus develop normally without some serious birth defects in the brain and spinal cord such as neural tube defects (NTDs), or spina bifida.
Avoid Anemia: Folic acid is a factor in the supply of blood cells to the body. It helps create new cells, including red blood ones. That means a pregnant mother needs to ensure her folic acid intake. Only doing that will keep herself away from anemia, miscarriage, premature birth, susceptible to postpartum psychosis, fetal malnutrition. Besides, her unborn baby will also be safe from heart diseases circuit, and cleft palate.
Reduce Cancer Risk: Taking folic acid is good medical advice as it reduces the risk of cancer-related diseases, such as breast cancer. Some people use the nutrient to prevent colon cancer or cervical cancer. It may be useful for heart disease and stroke because it reduces the chemical level in your blood.
Prevent Some Other Diseases: Folic acid is also used for dementia, hearing loss due to aging. After using multivitamin boosters, you can see a decrease in signs of aging, weak bones(osteoporosis), restless legs, trouble sleeping, depression, neuralgia, muscle pain, AIDS, vitiligo, and Fragile-X syndrome.
Folic Acid Effects On Children
For Children's Language Ability: Folic acid is involved in reducing the risk of a language delay. According to a 2011 study, mothers who took folic acid supplements for about four weeks before pregnancy lessen the risk of language delays compared to women who didn’t. To conclude, it affects children's brain development and prevents the risk of neural tube defects.
For Children's Health: Folic acid also has the ability to keep newborn babies away from neural tube birth defects around the central nervous system. If their brains or skulls get into serious troubles, they might cause permanent defects.
When To Take Folic Acid?
Dosage and supplementation of folic acid
The body stores about 10-30mg of folic acid. Most of it is in the liver, while the rest is stored in your blood and tissues. Normal blood folate levels range from 5-15mp per person. The main form of folate in the blood is called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate.
When you take additional folate, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate has the same bioavailability or slightly higher than folic acid supplementation. Due to this change in absorbance, the Dietary Folate Equivalents (DFEs) - a unit of measure for the difference in absorption of folic acid and folate - are developed using the following equation:
1 mcg DFEs = 1 mcg folate in natural foods = 0.5 mcg folic acid taken in supplement form = 0.6 mcg folic acid ingested from food
According to some studies in the United States, adults need about 400 mcg DFE daily. Having more folate requirements, pregnant women need to take 600 mcg and 500 mcg DFE per day.
Moreover, here is the recommended nutritional dosage (RDA) for infants, children, and teenagers:
0- 6 months: 65 mcg DFE
7-12 months: 80 mcg DFE
1-3 years: 150 mcg DFE
4 - 8 years: 200 mcg DFE
9 - 13 years: 300 mcg DFE
14-18 years: 400 mcg DFE
Supplements are a convenient way to meet the folic acid requirements, especially for women and individuals who are at risk of folate deficiency.
Folate and folic acid can be found in many forms and are often added to multi-nutritional supplements such as multivitamins and B multivitamins. Dosages vary widely, but most supplements provide about 680 - 1360 mcg of DFE (400 - 800 mcg of folic acid).
Folic Acid Poisoning
It is nearly impossible to reach the toxic level of Vitamin B9. However, the warning limit for folic acid is set at 800 mcg per day. As a matter of fact, research has shown that taking a higher intake can result in a vitamin B12 deficiency.
This deficiency occurs mainly in the elderly or those following vegan diets with little Vitamin B12. Both Vitamin B9 and B12 are involved in the making of red blood cells. A deficiency of either can lead to anemia.
The higher dose of folic acid you get, the more folate you lack. If the symptoms of B12 deficiency lasts for a long time, a slow but irreversible damage to the brain and nervous system can show up.
Besides, taking folic acid supplements can cause serious adverse effects on pregnancy. Studies show that supplementing with 800 mcg folic acid daily for a long time is likely to increase the risk of a heart attack in cardiovascular patients, and lung cancer. Ann overdose of folic acid also creates cell proliferation for people with tumors, making tumors and cancer grow faster.
As a result, choose to take less than 400 mcg folic acid from supplements daily. Don't worry, because you will get more folic acid as well as natural folate from fortified or industrialized foods. Thanks to its important benefits, folic acid is still a valuable treasure in health. In case you don't know any multivitamin supplements including folic acid, try MuscleTech Platinum MultiVitamin or Natural Way's Alive.
MuscleTech Platinum MultiVitamins is formulated to be fortified with vitamins and minerals, providing a unique blend of 21 vitamins and minerals. Antioxidant Vitamin C, D, E, folic acid, and iron in the product can fully support your overall wellness. Furthermore, this nutrient booster features a herbal support matrix with Rhodiola Rosea, Ginkgo Bioba, and Green Tea Extract, proving to improve active women’s strength.
Natural's Way Alive is a product for those who keep actively training. The brand even manufactures two specific kinds of Alive: for men and for women. Natural's Way Alive brings you a balanced amount of vitamin to support your health. Featuring unique nutrient blends, the product won't never let you down.