Quick! Name a source of folic acid!
Women of child-bearing age should get 400 micrograms of this vitamin daily yet many of us aren’t very familiar with it. Here’s what you need to know.
- Folic acid is the man-made version of the vitamin folate, also known as vitamin B9. The body converts folic acid to folate.
- Adequate folic acid intake is important because it helps prevent birth defects, specifically neural tube defects. These can affect a baby’s brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida).
- According to our favorite mom-and-baby doc William Sears, M.D — he knows about way more than just digestion — your need for folic acid doubles during pregnancy!
- Folic acid also helps the body make healthy red blood cells, so it’s important even if a little one isn’t in your plans.
- Because of its importance, folic acid is added to some packaged foods such as ready-to-eat cereal, breads and pasta. These products, labeled as “enriched,” are fortified with folic acid and other micronutrients.
- Despite this, many people in the U.S. consume less than we should. Studies show we get about 140 micrograms of folic acid each day from mandatorily fortified foods.
- If you’re watching your carb intake, you may be getting even less of this important nutrient.
- Folate can also be found in artichokes, beans, lentils, sunflower seeds, seafood and dark leafy greens such as spinach.
- Supplementing with your favorite multivitamin is an easy way to ensure you’re getting your folate fix. One serving of Regular Girl Multivitamin contains 400 micrograms of folic acid, as well as vitamin D, iron and other nutrients your body needs.