Top 10 facts about folic acid your women patients should know

Top 10 facts about folic acid your women patients should know

Are you a doctor who is seeing women patients? You must have already recommended folic acid capsules or iron-folic acid tablets for covering up nutritional deficiencies, particularly during the time of pregnancy and while trying to get pregnant as well. Many physicians recommend supplements and multivitamins in this regard, for keeping risks of neural tube defects at bay. This is just one instance.

There are more to the best folic acid tablets in terms of positive side effects as well. Bodies like the CDC insist that women of reproductive or childbearing age, should consume a minimum of 400 mcg or micrograms of folic acid on a regular basis, along with consuming food that contains folate for combating birth defects related to development of the spinal cord and brain of the baby. You should also know that folic acid contains Vitamin B and our bodies majorly use the same for new cell creation and development. All body parts including skin, nails and hair, for instance, make new cells each and every day. Folic acid is the key element used in multivitamins and supplements along with fortified foods including pasta, rice, bread and a few breakfast cereals too.

Why is folic acid so important before getting pregnant and during the pregnancy period?

The reason behind doctors prescribing iron and folic acid tablets or folic acid capsules during pregnancy or even before pregnancy is that this vital element helps in neural tube formation. Folic acid combats key birth defects related to spine and brain development. Women should consume a minimum of 400 mcg each day for keeping such birth defects at bay. These are defects that take place early on in the pregnancy stage (approximately 3-4 weeks post conception) before most women even know that they are pregnant.

Women of childbearing age should start consuming folic acid on a regular basis for helping in new cell formation. Folate is the term used generally for describing multiple Vitamin B9 types. Some of its types include DHF (dihydrofolate), folic acid, THF (tetrahydrofolate), 5-Methyl-THF or 5-MTHF and 5, 10-Methylene-THF. Food fortification is very essential for integrating minerals and vitamins into foods. Items which have been amply fortified with folic acid are marked as enriched on the label as well. Folic acid is suitable for usage in case of fortification

since it has greater heat stability as compared to various natural folate types. Light and heat may break down various kinds of natural food folate. Folic acid is more suitable for fortification of food since several fortified items like pasta and bread are cooked.

Getting ample folic acid is highly essential for women, with the help of the Purayati iron and folic acid tablets including supplements and multivitamins. Additionally, check whether the multivitamin has the recommended amount of folic acid (400 mcg) and always go through the label when you are buying multivitamins/supplements online, from pharmacies and other stores. You should also ferret out breakfast cereals which fall in the fortified foods category along with other rice, pasta and bread products. Always check labels and choose products with 100% folate content. A combination of fortified foods and folic acid multivitamins/supplements will do you wonders as per experts.

10 key facts that your female patients should be aware of

On that note, here are 10 facts that all your women patients should be in the loop about.

1. Every year, approximately 130 babies suffer from NTD or neural tube defects in New York State (United States of America) alone. Throughout the USA, for instance, there are approximately 4,000 pregnancies annually which are impacted by NTD, involving development disorders of the spinal cord and brain. Spina bifida is the commonest one in this case while brain development failure or anencephaly, is the most serious one. The scenario is somewhat similar in other parts of the world as well.

2. A whopping 70% of NTD risks may be combated if women start taking 0.4 mg per day of folic acid upon getting pregnant. They should be consuming this amount for at least 1 month before conception and also during the very first pregnancy trimester.

3. Folic acid is a Vitamin B offshoot which is used by our bodies for manufacturing DNA and this is needed for tissue and organ formation along with rapid cell division in developing babies.

4. Folic acid only helps in prevention of neural tube defects or NTDs throughout the first few weeks when a woman gets pregnant. 50% of pregnancies remain unplanned as per estimates and hence, all women who are sexually active and are of childbearing age, should start taking folic acid on a regular basis, even between their pregnancies.

5. 2/3rds of women in the USA have reported consumption of insufficient folic acid levels and the story is similar in several other global countries as well. Women can consume adequate folic acid through three methods, i.e. consuming vitamin supplements which contain 0.4 mg of folic acid on a daily basis, consuming fortified breakfast cereals on a regular basis which have 100% of the daily folic acid content recommended and scaling up consumption of fortified foods which contain folic acid.

6. Foods which are rich in folic acid include enriched bread, fortified breakfast cereals, pasta, rice and grain products, green vegetables, orange juice and legumes like kidney beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans and lentils among others. A fortified cereal and orange juice in a big glass will ensure at least 50% of the daily amount of folic acid that is recommended. Multivitamins can take care of the rest.

7. Women who have suffered previously from NTD impacted pregnancies, have the biggest recurrence related risks and should visit their physicians before planning to get pregnant again. Physicians will naturally prescribe higher folic acid dosage (4 mg approximately).

8. Women with diabetes that are dependent on maternal insulin, are also at risk in this case. Those who use medicines for anti-seizure effects, have high obesity levels, were exposed to higher temperatures during the early pregnancy stages (prolonged hot-tub usage and fever) and poor (which equates to recurring nutritional deficiencies) are automatically at risk.

9. Folic acid comes with various other health benefits including lowering risks linked to strokes, heart disease and some types of cancer.

10. Women should always limit folic acid consumption to lower than 1 mg each day, unless they are supervised by their physician. Higher doses may lead to complications related to diagnosing deficiencies of Vitamin B12.

These are the 10 facts that your women patients should definitely be aware about, when it comes to folic acid.

Image Reference:-

Image Credit:- “Folic Acid” by Seth Tisue is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Author: HealthyLife | Posted on: July 28, 2020

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