Taking folic acid one to three months before conception can greatly reduce the risk of the child developing birth defects, specifically neural tube defects (NTDs).

But for girls ages 10 to 19, there are a number of benefits to making folic acid part of their daily regimen that go beyond child development.

Folic acid, and its natural form folate, helps tissue in the body grow and cells work properly. It also helps the body break down, use, and create new proteins. So what does this all mean?

Folic acid is involved in a number of body functions you might not realize that can go a long way in helping young women feel more confident, including:

  • The growth of stronger, healthier finger and toe nails.
  • Beneficial in the prevention of acne.
  • Maintaining strong and healthy hair and reducing the risk of hair loss.
  • Assists in maintaining healthy, glowing skin.
  • Can help in the prevention of depression and anxiety.
  • Reduces the risk of a number of medical conditions, including colon cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

To get the full effects of folic acid, US Public Health Serviceadvises all women to consume 400 mcg of folic acid daily. It is available over the counter as well as in certain foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, seafood, and fortified grains and cereals.