What You Need to Know About Folic Acid Supplements
Folic acid is a type of vitamin that is essential for many facets of health, and many people do not get enough. Quality folic acid supplements help to cover the gap in your diet so you have enough of this nutrient. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause an array of health issues that can have a significant impact on your life. Since the body does not store this nutrient, you need to supply the body with folic acid every day.
Recommended Daily Intake for Folic Acid
Your age determines the amount of folic acid you need each day. The recommended daily intake for this nutrient is as follows:
- Those ranging from birth to six months of age: 65 micrograms
- Those aged seven to 12 months: 80 micrograms
- Those aged one to three years: 150 micrograms
- Those aged four to eight years: 200 micrograms
- Those aged nine to 13: 300 micrograms
- Those aged 14 to 18: 400 micrograms
- Those 19 years of age and older: 400 micrograms
Some people need more folic acid than others and those taking certain medications or those with certain medical conditions should have their daily recommended intake assessed by their doctor.
Why Folic Acid is Important
Folic acid plays many roles in the body and it is a vital nutrient for the following functions:
- Repairing and synthesizing RNA and DNA
- Producing healthy red blood cells
- Promoting optimal brain health
- Helping with rapid cell growth and division
Folic Acid During Pregnancy
Getting the right amount of folic acid during pregnancy reduces the risk of a neural tube defect, such as anencephaly and spina bifida, in your baby. All woman should increase folic acid in their diet when they are pregnant, but the following factors may mean you need to increase your intake even more to reduce the risk of neural tube defect:
- You have a neural tube defect or the father of the baby has one
- There is a history of neural tube defects on either mom or dad’s side of the family
- You have had a pregnancy before where a neural tube defect was present
- You are a diabetic
Folic Acid Anemia
Not having enough folic acid in the blood can result in folic acid anemia. Since this nutrient works to create new blood cells, if there is not enough, the body will not produce enough new blood cells to keep up with the demand. This can result in a wide array of signs and symptoms, including feeling faint, lethargy, shortness of breath, paleness, headaches, ringing in the ears and heart palpitations. A good folic acid supplement can usually work to resolve the anemia relatively quickly.
A simple blood test can measure your folic acid levels and help to determine if you are deficient in this nutrient. A good folic acid supplement is often beneficial, especially for pregnant women, to ensure your body gets what it needs. Your doctor can help you to decide which folic acid supplement is best for you and your needs.