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Appreciating the Importance of Folic Acid

By Charlene J. Nuble

Folic acid is actually just one of the many vitamins that make up the Vitamin B complex. Also known as folacin and folate, this indispensable nutrient serves the body in more ways than one.

While very much important for all age groups, pregnant women are the ones who actually benefit the most from folic acid as well as those who getting past the prime of their lives. However, despite all of its known benefits many people fail to meet the recommended daily intake levels of folic acid which can oftentimes result to various ill-effects on a person's health.

Folic acid is highly important to a person's growth as early the period of pregnancy, while a fetus is still developing inside a mother's womb, it greatly needs to be nourished by folic acid in order for it to come out strong and healthy. In fact, if a couple is even thinking about getting pregnant, the woman should immediately begin to monitor her folic acid consumption, making sure that she meets the suggested daily intake of folic acid. Most health care professionals recommend that every woman of childbearing age make sufficient folic acid consumption a nutritional priority. This is because this nutrient is vital to the development of the baby from the moment of conception. It can help prevent serious birth defects in the brain as well as in the spine, called neural tube defects.

Spinal Bifida is one of the more well known defects that can be caused by lack of folic acid in the body. Every woman who wants to have a baby should always be conscious of her folic acid intake because these types of defects usually occur within the first few weeks of the baby's development, even way before the woman actually realizes that she is indeed pregnant.

In addition to assisting in the formation of genetic material in each and every cell of the body, other important functions of folic acid include the formation of red blood cells essential to transferring oxygen and nutrients throughout the body as well as tissue growth. Folic acid, according to recent studies has been associated with various health benefits as well as serving as protection against debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's disease some cancers and heart diseases. It is also thought to offer a certain degree of protection from strokes.

Folic Acid deficiencies can cause a myriad of health problems. Among them are ulcerations in the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, peptic ulcers and chronic diarrhea. Folic acid deficiency can also contribute to certain kinds of anemia.

As a water soluble nutrient, Folic acid actually goes out of a person's body quite easily since it practically exits the body through the urine which is why the amount of folic acid in the body should always be replaced so as to not suffer from the consequences brought about the lack of folic acid. It is highly recommendable to actually consider taking some folic acid supplements to ensure that our bodies folic acid levels are always replenished. This holds especially true for expectant mothers who need to ensure the good health of the babies that they're carrying. Like they always say, better safe than sorry.

When choosing a dietary supplement for your folic acid needs, it is always important to read and understand the label. This will help you to ensure that you are getting the daily suggested amount of folic acid which is needed for a person's good health as well as whether or not this supplement caters to one's specific needs. For example, something that is directly created for expecting mothers should not be taken by people who are not pregnant. Even though they both contain folic acid, they contain various levels of it that may prove to be too much or too little to some. When planning your supplement use, make an honest assessment of your eating habits. That way, you can select individual supplements that match your individual dietary needs and health goals.


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