5 Reasons Why Women Need Extra Folic Acid
Folic acid is vitamin B9 that can be found in supplements taken commonly during pregnancy. It is a well-known supplement recommended by doctors because it is used by the body for cell regeneration, which is a much-needed process to produce DNA. This is widely popular among pregnant women, but did you know that folic acid is also recommended before and after pregnancy?
Before going further, first, you should know the difference between folic acid vs. Folate. For a long time, it has been believed that the two are the same thing. Not exactly. Although used for the same purpose, Folate can be gathered from natural food products, while folic acid is clinically formulated to enhance the processes needed for cell regeneration, which is extremely essential for pregnancy.
So why exactly do women need extra folic acid? Here’s why.
1. Helps prevent neural tube defects (NTDs)
According to research, one in every 1,000 newborn babies is born with NTDs, also known as neural tube defects. This includes either spina bifida or anencephaly. Spina bifida happens when the baby’s spinal column does not fully develop in the womb and this can affect the baby’s brain development. Anencephaly happens when the rostral end of the head fails to close and there is an absence of a large portion of the skull and brain that will make the head look unnaturally smaller.
Relatively, it has been shown that women who take folic acid before and during pregnancy have lower risks of NTDs such as the ones mentioned above. Folic acid is dubbed as a “superhero” when it comes to pregnancy because it does not only protect the growing baby inside, it also protects the mom.
2. Produces red blood cells
During pregnancy, anemia or iron deficiency is a common problem experienced by many moms-to-be. While it is common, it is also extremely risky if you do not take action and ensure that your body has enough iron. This is to prepare you for when giving birth, where either normal delivery or C-section, women can lose a lot of blood.
Folic acid is known to enhance the process for the production of red blood cells. It ensures that your red blood cells are at a normal level. Your doctor may recommend other supplements that can perform this exact same process, but folic acid already has a head start and clears the path for other supplements to do this.
3. Essential for the production, repair, and functioning of DNA
The placenta is where your baby will be home to for the next nine months and up until the big day. In the placenta, the baby is developed and this is where DNA comes into play. DNA is the well-known hereditary material in people that is responsible for building up the structures of an individual, the uniqueness, and the overall package.
To ensure that the baby develops in a healthy environment and the production of DNA is uninterrupted, the placenta should be well-groomed and sturdy for such intricate and important processes. Folic acid ensures that the placenta is healthy, and it also aid’s in the production and repair of DNA, especially during the fetal formation stages.
4. Prevention of cancer
While folic acid is a popular vitamin in the pregnancy world, it is one that has been found to also prevent the formation of cancer. According to an oncology research, the vitamin B found in folic acid and folate is essential in cell regeneration. Folic acid is said to prevent specific cancers such as esophageal, colorectal and pancreatic cancers. Further studies have shown that it can also prevent a specific type of skin cancer like melanoma.
For cancer patients, taking folic acid is limited and should be consulted to your doctor first, but is found to be generally helpful in the recovery process. Vitamin B is known to help in the regeneration of hair when hair loss happens during treatment.
5. Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
During and after pregnancy, rapid cell loss can be experienced especially without the help of supplements. Although some symptoms, such as Alzheimer’s disease, may not show until so much later in life, studies have found that lack of help in cell regeneration greatly affects the long-term health.
Research has found that folic acid is not only good for moms-to-be but also plays a huge role in keeping the brain healthy. This is most likely connected to its aid in cell regeneration, which the brain does a lot. Thus, taking folic acid has been shown to slow down the decrease of cognitive development and it helps in protecting the brain from many known brain disorders.
For a healthy pregnancy, it is strongly recommended by doctors from all around the globe to take folic acid. This incredible vitamin will help ensure that you and your baby are healthy from the moment of conception up to the day you will first see each other, and even beyond then. Cell regeneration is a crucial process, especially when you have life growing inside of you. Therefore, taking folic acid is essential for a healthy pregnancy and for the prevention of many diseases.