5 Benefits of Taking Folic Acid on Pregnant Women
Whether newly pregnant or planning to be, folic acid is one important supplement that should be taken in prescribed doses. Read these 5 facts on the benefits of taking folic acid.
When thinking of pregnancy, staying healthy is pivotal. Not only will a healthy body ensure that the mother stays well enough to carry a child for the next nine months, but it also ensures that the baby is healthy inside the womb.
Eating nutritious food is a must -- and folate, a water-soluble B vitamin, is an essential nutrient that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should consume ample amounts of. Folate is naturally found in certain foods, such as green leafy vegetables, breads, cereals and beans.
To make sure that an expectant woman's body takes in enough folate, folic acid is often prescribed by the doctor, especially during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which comes in the form of supplements.
To understand more about the benefits of taking folic acid, here are 5 known facts:
1. Folic acid is known to prevent major birth defects
According to womenshealth.gov, "Pregnant women need 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid in the very early stages of pregnancy often before they know that they are pregnant."
Folic acid is a major player in a fetus' brain development and prevention of major birth defects, such as the neural tube defect known as spina bifida. This is an occurrence wherein a baby’s spinal column does not close properly, thereby putting a risk on the spinal cord. This type of defect is known to pose lifelong disabilities, especially in the development of motor skills.
2. Folic acid helps avoid anemia
Another factor when taking folic acid is its ability to help keep the blood healthy by creating red blood cells, which are essential in carrying oxygen throughout the body. Not taking enough may then result to folic acid deficiency anemia, resulting in weakness and overall body fatigue.
3. Folic acid is a beauty remedy for healthier skin, hair and nails
If you have trouble with dull skin, brittle nails or dry hair, then folic acid may be the solution. According to gofolic.org, folic acid helps the body grow new cells and keeps the moisture in these tissues. This is important in keeping healthy skin, hair and nails, as these are the body parts with the fastest growing cells.
4. Folic acid helps prevent certain types of cancer
According to studies, enough intake of folic acid may help in preventing cancers such as colon and other parts in the gastrointestinal tract, and to some degree, even post-menopausal breast cancer. However, it is highly advisable that only an adequate amount of folic acid should be taken daily, as it may pose more risks of developing other types of cancer if taken in large quantities.
5. Folic acid fights against brain-related disorders
There have been studies that suggest how folic acid could potentially help in cognitive functions, and even protect the brain against age-related memory disorders, like the devastating Alzheimer’s disease. Folic acid has been proven to fight off high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood known in developing Alzheimer’s.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ANGELA VERA
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