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Spina Bifida Association of Delaware Folic Acid Facts

Folic Acid: Important to Reduce Birth Defects!!!!

Folic acid was often included in the list of B-vitamins that was learned generations ago to be an important part of our diet. Check most vitamin supplement bottles and you find it listed with thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin. It has always been considered an essential nutrient, but not one that most people worried about. Folic acid is a central component in many very important metabolic pathways in the body.

Recent research findings have linked inadequate folic acid intakes to spina bifida and anencephaly, two very serious neural tube defects. It has been estimated that up to 3,000 babies a year are born with neural tube defects.

It is recommended that all women of child bearing age consume 0.4 mg of folic acid per day as a way of preventing spina bifida and anencephaly. It appears that the events that link folic acid to neural tube defects occurs in the first days of pregnancy. For this reason all women of child bearing age should take special care to ensure that they are getting at least 0.4 mg of folic acid per day in their diet. However, intakes of excessive amounts of folic acid can complicate the diagnosis of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Therefore, increasing daily folic acid intakes beyond recommended amounts may be detrimental to your health.

Good sources of folic acid:

Multi-Vitamins, Liver (beef, lamb, pork, chicken), spinach, asparagus, wheat, bran & dry beans, breakfast cereal, grain products, orange juice, egg yolk and green leafy vegetables.

Possible results of folic acid deficiency:

Neural tube defects, anemia (various forms)& diarrhea.

Folic acid is essential for the functioning of the human body & the need for this increases during pregnancy. If all women of childbearing consume 0.4 mg of folic acid per day, prior to becoming pregnant and during the first trimester, the incidence of folic acid preventable spina bifida could be reduced by up to 75%!!!

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