Are you getting enough folic acid? Let’s take a minute to discuss the importance of this often-overlooked B-vitamin.
Folic acid is actually the synthetic form of folate, a water-soluble B vitamin naturally found in foods such as spinach, asparagus, peanuts and oranges. Folic acid is commonly found in enriched foods and dietary supplements.
Who needs folic acid?
You may already know that folic acid is especially beneficial for pregnant women and growing babies””but what you may not know is that it’s an important nutrient that everyone needs! Men, women and children of all ages can reap the benefits of adequate folic acid intake. Although individual needs may vary, experts recommend getting at least 400 mcg of this essential B-vitamin per day.
How does folic acid benefit health?
Folic acid is a crucial nutrient for women of childbearing age because it is essential to support cell growth and development, something that occurs rapidly during pregnancy. Adequate levels of folate/folic acid have been shown to reduce the occurrence of certain birth defects.
Beyond the realm of pregnancy, folic acid is also essential for the production of healthy red blood cells and to prevent a certain type of anemia. Folic acid also plays a role in regulating the body’s levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can cause numerous health issues if left unchecked. In addition, folic acid is needed for the repair and maintenance of healthy cells.
As with any dietary supplement, check with your doctor before increasing your intake of folic acid.