Up to 70 percent of NTDs can be prevented if all women who can become pregnant consume 0.4 mg/day of folic acid at least a month prior to conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy. Folate and folic acid are forms of a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate occurs naturally in food, and folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin. Since 1998, folic acid has been added to cold cereals, flour, breads, pasta, bakery items, cookies, and crackers, as required by federal law. Foods that are naturally high in folate include leafy vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce), okra, asparagus, fruits (such as bananas, melons, and lemons) beans, yeast, mushrooms, meat (such as beef liver and kidney), orange juice, and tomato juice.
Folic acid is used for preventing and treating low blood levels of folate (folate deficiency), as well as its complications, including “tired blood” (anemia) and the inability of the bowel to absorb nutrients properly. Folic acid is also used for other conditions commonly associated with folate deficiency, including ulcerative colitis, liver disease, alcoholism, and kidney dialysis.
Folic acid is essential for the growth of the spinal cord in the womb. It is important that an expectant mother consumes enough folic acid during the earliest stages of development.
Studies have shown that beginning folic acid supplementation before conception significantly reduces the incidence of birth defects known as neural tube defects (malformations of the spine and brain) such as spina bifida and anencephaly.. Folic acid are routinely endorsed for ladies who may end up pregnant.
Imperative information concerning Intake of Folic Acid
You should not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to folic acid.
Before you take folic acid, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis), an infection, if you are an alcoholic, or if you have any type of anemia that has not been diagnosed by a doctor and confirmed with laboratory testing.
Talk to your doctor about taking folic acid during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Folic acid is sometimes used in combination with other medications to treat pernicious anemia. However, folic acid will not treat Vitamin B12 deficiency and will not prevent possible damage to the spinal cord. Take all of your medications as directed.
Folic acid side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to folic acid: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Less serious side effects are more likely, but may include:
- nausea, loss of appetite;
- bloating, gas;
- bitter or unpleasant taste in your mouth;
- sleep problems;
- depression; or
- feeling excited or irritable.