A-Z of Vitamins: Folic Acid

If you’ve been following this website for a while you will know that we love our folic acid, especially if you want to get pregnant. Folic acid is basically a vitamin B complex and the body needs it in order to create new red blood cells, and without them, we wouldn’t be in a great place at all!

On top of helping out your blood cells, folic acid and other similar B vitamins do a lot of stuff in the body. For example, without the B vitamins your body wouldn’t be able to metabolize fats very well. Folic acid also helps to promote a healthy digestive tract and helps to maintain the muscles in your body.

It helps to keep your hair, skin and nervous system and also helps the iron to work as it should do in your body. During the development stages of your life – pregnancy, birth, infancy, adolescence etc. folic acid is very important and this explains the need for this when you want to conceive and during pregnancy.

Folic Acid
Source: Flickr.com/photos/denverjeffrey/4480552240/sizes/m/in/photostream/

The thing with pregnancy is that the baby will be pulling all of your folic acid reserves to create its own body that you will be left running on empty. This is why you will often be advised by your doctor or midwife to increase your folic acid intake, usually with a simple daily supplement. For pregnant women, the recommended daily dose is around 600mcg but the average non-pregnant woman will need just 400mcg – you can see the difference here.

If you want to introduce the folic acid more naturally to your life, there are plenty of foods that contain it. Milk, for example, is a prime example, but there are more than a few foods that you should look at – orange juice, avocado, wheat germ, kidney beans, salmon, Brussels sprouts, turnip and many more. It might be wise to start researching the extensive list of healthy foods that can bump up your folic acid intake if you are not getting enough.

As well as pregnancy, there are a few people that run the risk of putting themselves into the more dangerous bracket of being lacking in folic acid. Celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome are two examples but other risks include alcoholism.

There is a possibility that you could take too much folic acid and this is why you will want to speak with a professional before starting yourself off with supplements. If you take too much folic acid, you could run the risk of masking the fact that you could be lacking in vitamin B12 and one of the symptoms of this is often anemia, which can prove to be very dangerous for you and your unborn child if it is not sorted out. Eventually you could run the risk of damaging the nervous system.

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