If you’re pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, you probably already know how important it is to take a supplement containing folic acid.
Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, or Vitamin B9. This essential nutrient aids in the production and maintenance of new cells. It helps:
- Form red blood cells
- Create new DNA
- Prevent birth defects of the spinal cord and brain, referred to as neural tube defects
Researchers have associated folic acid with a reduced risk of congenital heart defects and possibly premature birth. That’s why pregnant women need to get enough of it.
Why Do You Need Folic Acid if You’re Not Pregnant?
For starters, 40 percent of pregnancies across the globe are unplanned. Therefore, taking folic acid if you’re a woman and not pregnant helps ensure you have adequate levels of folate for a developing fetus before you find out you’re pregnant.
Additionally, research indicates folic acid may play a preventive role in autism, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. A deficiency in this vitamin may increase the risk of depression, allergic diseases, anemia and low bone density. Folic acid may also impact memory and brain function.
Have Questions about Pregnancy Nutrition?
Make an appointment at the Nutrition Counseling Center.
Getting enough folate is something you need to do every day, as it’s a water-soluble vitamin and is not stored in the body.
How Do You Know You’re Getting Enough Folic Acid?
You can get folate naturally from foods, including:
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
- Citrus juices
- Egg yolks
- Fortified breads and cereals
Your body more easily absorbs folic acid in vitamins or supplements than the folate you get from food. Doctors usually recommend that non-pregnant women and men get 400 mcg daily, whereas pregnant women should get 600 mcg and breastfeeding women should get 500 mcg.
Providers may advise some patients to take higher doses, including:
- Those with a family history of neural tube defects
- Individuals who take certain medications for cancer, epilepsy or autoimmune diseases
Copyright 2019 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.
Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won’t fail me as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I genuinely believed you would probably have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something you could possibly fix if you weren’t too busy searching for attention.
Please help me. I started using folic acid 5mg and on the same day i started with my menstruation. And it was not my date to go for my period. Has folic acid changed my menstruation cycle or what is happening? I have 4 months since i stopped using the prevention pills, and i am not pregnant.
We can’t given medical advice online. Please call your doctor. If you would like to make an appointment at UVA Health, you can request online at https://forms.uvahealth.com/appointment/
Plz have been talking folic acid for two weeks now show don’t know y am not pregnant my marriage is 4 months and now don’t know wat else to do ooo
I’m taking folic acid for my third degree Burns to help the healing of my donor sight as well as the new skin. I’m assuming its helping with my blood cells and is needed to assist the healing from surgery. Can you just tell me if that is correct. The doctors surgeon were awesome just want to know if this is OK to take by a second opinion only. Thanks, MCF
Pregnancy doesn’t always happen the moment you begin having sex without contraception. It’s completely normal to take some time. Four months ISN’T a long time, you’ve only ovulated 3 to 4 times since you’ve begun trying to get pregnant. Also, constantly stressing yourself over it can interfere with conception.
If you think 4 months is a long time to try to conceive, perhaps you should talk to some couples who tried to conceive for years before eventually getting pregnant. You can also see a Fertility Specialist to ensure that both you and your husband are fertile, but don’t be surprised if they tell you that it’s too soon to be overreacting with so much worry.