Just the Facts About Folic Acid

In honor of Folic Acid Awareness Week, January 6 through 13, we are emphasizing the importance of the vitamin for women of childbearing age to be taking the recommended 400 mcg each day.

Here are the benefits of folic acid:

  • Folic acid is a B vitamin that the body uses to make DNA and RNA, the genetic "brains" that tell your body how to build and maintain new cells.
  • A lack of folic acid -- or its natural form folate -- in the body during a pregnant woman’s first trimester can lead to the development of neural tube defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly. According to the CDC, taking folic acid reduces the risk of NTDs by 70-percent.
  • Because of how much fetal development happens in the first few weeks of pregnancy, it’s important to be taking folic acid for at least one month before conception to get the full effect of the vitamin.
  • Along with NTDs, folic acid has been found to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other blood clotting problems. It has also been found the help lower the likelihood of certain cancers, anemia, and autism.
  • Folic acid can be taken organically by eating foods like bananas, avocados, beans, lentils, oranges, leafy greens, broccoli, fortified cereals and breads, and pastas.

If you have questions about folic acid, make sure to discuss them with your physician. Don’t forget to check out our website for more information on the benefits of folic acid.