Bioconcepts Folic Acid: Folic Acid is essential during pregnancy to ensure proper growth of the foetus Can help prevent birth defects Is important for healthy sperm Required to help maintain and make cells including red blood cells & DNA Also helps prevent blood disorders What is Folic Acid? Folic acid is the term used for the synthetic form of Folate (vitamin B9). Folic Acid is available as a supplement, where as folate is naturally found in foods -- but the terms Folic Acid & Folate are used interchangeably. Folic Acid is a B-Vitamin, B-9. Vitamin B-9 is a water-soluble vitamin so gets cleared from your system on a regular basis. As the body cannot store much of it, it is a regular dietary requirement. Food sources of folate include fortified breakfasts, enriched rice and breads, fruit and green leafy vegetables. The body absorbs 100 % of folic acid, but only two-thirds of folate from food. Together with the other B vitamins, Folic Acid helps the body to break down and convert the food that we eat into energy. Why take Folic Acid? Folic acid is required by the body to make and maintain cells. It helps to make DNA as well as red blood cells and amino acids. Without folic acid, no cell division can occur, which creates conditions for disease. When the body tries to make red blood cells without folic acid, the blood cells are unable to mature, so they become very large and unusable. As Folic acid is required by the body to make and maintain cells, to help make DNA and red blood cells, it is for this reason that adequate folic acid intake is essential during pregnancy to ensure proper growth of the foetus. Folic acid protects newborns from birth defects when it is taken by the mother. Without it, severe birth defects could resultHealthy sperm is also dependent on adequate folic acid intake, so it is extremely important, to help prevent birth defects, that both expectant mothers and fathers have an adequate daily intake of folic acid. Take Folic Acid if you want to: Help prevent blood disorders Help prevent birth defects in your unborn child Try to conceive How does Folic Acid work? The science behind the secret... Folic acid is a vital vitamin in creating DNA. There are four nucleotide bases that make up DNA. Folic acid makes sure that there is enough of one of these bases, 'thymidylate'. Without thymidylate, DNA cannot replicate so cells cannot divide, hence the result of birth defects in newborns. Folic acid also helps to make red blood cells and works with vitamin B-12 and vitamin C to break down, use and create proteins in the body. Folic Acid essentially helps cells to work and grow. Is it right for me? The Department of Health suggests adults require 0.2mg (200mcg) of folate a day and recommends that all women planning a pregnancy, and those during the first 3 months of pregnancy, take a supplement of 0.4mg (400mcg) of Folic Acid daily. Folic Acid may reduce the risk of birth defects. Recent Studies Folic Acid has a protective effect upon unborn babies: Britain's Medical Research Council 'Prevention of neural tube defects: results of the Medical Research Council Vitamin Study. MRC Vitamin Study Research Group' The Lancet, 1991. A randomised double-blind prevention trial with a factorial design was conducted at 33 centres in seven countries to determine whether supplementation with folic acid (one of the vitamins in the B group) or a mixture of seven other vitamins (A,D,B1,B2,B6,C and nicotinamide) around the time of conception can prevent neural tube defects (anencephaly, spina bifida, encephalocele). A total of 1817 women at high risk of having a pregnancy with a neural tube defect, because of a previous affected pregnancy, were allocated at random to one of four groups--namely, folic acid, other vitamins, both, or neither. 1195 had a completed pregnancy in which the foetus or infant was known to have or not have a neural tube defect; 27 of these had a known neural tube defect, 6 in the folic acid groups
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