Folic Acid Benefits Women at All Stages of Life

For new mothers, eating well and taking folic acid is important. Folic acid is important for women at any point of their lives, but especially important pregnancy is part of the life plan. Folic Acid plays a vital role in preventing neural tube defects of the fetus and should be taken before and during pregnancy. With it well incorporated into a mother-to-be diet, her body can produce and maintain beneficial cells in the body. But what is folic acid? Here are some explanations for some of the most common questions about folic acid.

Folic Acid vs. Folate

Both are forms of Vitamin B9, however Folic Acid is man-made and Folate Acid occurs naturally in the foods we eat. Folic acid, a synthetic form of folate, is converted to an active usable form in the body. Folic Acid is added to supplements and foods to fortify them. It is commonly added to rice, pasta, bread and cereals. Folate is naturally found in whole foods that were not highly processed such as leafy greens, vegetables, fruits and fresh beans.

How is it beneficial to Women?

Pregnancy aside, adequate folate in your diet is important. It plays a pivotal role in tissue growth and cell function, and it works together with vitamin B12, B6, and vitamin C to break down and create new proteins. Cellular regeneration is an ongoing process in the body and everything your body does requires protein and DNA production. A diet that would be considered healthy that is also rich in folate should have asparagus, leafy greens, avocado, fortified pasta or cereal, and eggs. Where immunity and gut health is concerned, folate plays an important role and also can prevent some forms of anemia. In certain instances, folate may play a role in reducing the side effects of menopause. In a Western Medicine study Journal of Caring Sciences, menopausal women who were supplemented 1 milligram of folic acid daily saw decreases in the severity, duration and frequency of their hot flashes.

How Much Do Women Need?

The US Recommended Dietary Allowance of folic acid for adult women is 400 micrograms (mcg) daily. It can go up to as much as 600 mcg during pregnancy and back down to 500 during lactation. Women who have had a history of neural tube defects should consume even more folic acid. The National Institutes of Health recommends women who have such a history to consume between 4,000 and 5,000 mcg of a folate supplement each day, at least one month before planning a pregnancy. Continue this regime through the first three months of pregnancy to reduce the chances of pregnancy risks.

Adding it to Your Diet

The most recommended way to get the amount needed is through a balanced diet. But it is common for most women to take supplements to ensure adequacy. Before taking any supplements, be sure to talk to your Healthcare Professional to determine what is right for you. Fortunately, tasty food sources of folate are easily accessible in the modern day and are right at your fingertips. It has many fruits and vegetables.