Folic acid is a member of the B-complex vitamin family, and is essential for energy production and the formation of red blood cells.
- Folic acid has been shown to lower the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida and may be helpful in preventing cancer of the cervix.
- Begin taking a supplement of at least 400 micrograms of folic acid if you are thinking of becoming pregnant. It is extremely important that you begin taking it before conception, and continue for the first three months of your pregnancy. Critical developments take place in the embryo during the first six weeks, and this is the time when folic acid is most important.
- Use a high-potency B-complex vitamin that contains at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.
- Take with B12. They work best when taken together.
- Take with vitamin C.
- Eat your vegetables and fruits raw or lightly steamed. Cooking and microwaving destroy folic acid.
- Decrease your alcohol intake if you are a heavy drinker. In addition to causing other health problems, excess alcohol interferes with folic acid absorption.
- Speak with your doctor if you take oral contraceptives. They may increase the need for folic acid.
- Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, brown rice, cheese, dates, legumes, mushrooms, oranges, wheat germ, tuna, salmon, whole grains, chicken and root vegetables. All are good sources of folic acid.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other healthcare professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.