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HEALTHIER YOU: Folic acid is key for women of child-bearing age

January 17, 2023 by  
Filed under Health



Happy New Year! January is Folic Acid Awareness Month. The CDC urges all women of reproductive age to take 400 micrograms of folic acid each day, in addition to consuming food with folate from a varied diet, to help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida).

Folic acid is a B vitamin. Our bodies use it to make new cells. As we think about the skin, hair, and nails, these and other parts of the body make new cells each day. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate used in supplements and in fortified foods such as rice, pasta, bread, and some breakfast cereals.

Folic acid is important before and during pregnancy because when the baby is developing early during pregnancy, folic acid helps form the neural tube. Folic acid is very important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. The neural tube forms the early brain and spine.

When taking folic acid, a higher than 400 mcg of folic acid each day is not necessarily better to prevent neural tube defects, unless a doctor recommends taking more due to other health conditions.

When planning to become pregnant, women who have already had a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect should consult with their healthcare provider.

Every woman of reproductive age needs to get folic acid every day — whether she is planning to get pregnant or not — to help make new cells.

Food fortification is a way to add vitamins or minerals, or both, to foods. Some rice, pasta, bread, and breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid. These foods are labeled, “enriched.” Folic acid is a specific type of folate that does not generally occur naturally.

For more information, call Las Vegas All Women’s Care at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane #165 in Las Vegas.

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