Officials State That Women Need More Folic Acid
It is a long known fact that folic acid, one of the B vitamins helps to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. However, a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that the amount being taken by women aged 18 to 45 is too low.
The report noted that women aged 18 to 24 were taking the smallest amount of this important supplement. Folic acid is used by the body to make healthy cells and is needed by all women, although those of childbearing age need more to help prevent brain and spinal defects in their babies.
Apart from pregnancy-related reasons, folic acid is needed by women and even men to prevent a number of illnesses such as stroke, heart disease and some types of cancer, primarily breast and colon cancer. It is even believed that folic acid may help in the prevention of Alzheimers.
The average amount of folic acid being taken daily by women of childbearing age is just 130 micrograms, while the recommended amount should be at least 400 micrograms per day. When purchasing supplements, it should either state that it contains 400mcg or 100 percent folic acid. Apart from supplements a diet high in green, leafy vegetables, fruits and of course folic acid fortified cereals and flour is recommended. Some foods that are good sources of this vital vitamin are bananas, oranges, peas and broccoli.
Taking or increasing your intake of folic acid, also called folate, before, during and after pregnancy should therefore be an important part of life. Are you taking enough folic acid?