This year, instead of candy and trinkets, why not stock your friends and family’s stockings with an impactful gift; folic acid.

Folic acid is a vital supplement for women that impacts reproductive health, enhances beauty, and helps to prevent a variety of diseases as well as stroke.

The B-9 vitamin’s primary role is to reduce the risk of birth defects, specifically, neural tube defects (NTDs). The most common of those include spina bifida, anencephaly, congenital heart disease, cleft lip and palate, limb reduction defects, and obstructive uropathies.

There are around 1,500 babies born with spina bifida and 1,200 babies born with anencephaly in the United States each year. Across the world, it is estimated that more than 300,000 babies are born with a neural tube defect.

For expectant mothers, taking just 400 mcg a day of folic acid can reduce the risk of these defects by as much as 70-percent.

It is advised that all women planning on becoming pregnant begin taking Folic Acid one to three months before conception. With about 50-percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. being unplanned, the best course of action is to add Folic Acid to your regimen once you reach childbearing age.

While helping to prevent NTDs is the primary job of folic acid, there are other benefits of taking the supplement regularly.

For teenage girls, folic acid benefits the skin, including helping in the prevention of acne. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, as well as colon cancer and promote healthy hair and nails.

For women 40 years and older, it provides all the benefits it does to younger women, plus can help with a variety of blood clotting issues.

Folic acid even has health benefits for the men in your life, including helping with sperm development, and reducing the risk of certain cancers and memory loss brought on with age.

For you, it’s a great gift that won’t break the bank. Folic acid is available over the counter and you can often find a month’s supply for less than 1 penny per day.

This Christmas consider adding Folic Acid as a stocking stuffer.