Folic Acid The Pregnancy Superhero
Taking a prenatal vitamin with the recommended 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby's brain and spinal cord.
Folic acid is a member of the B-Complex family and is also known as pteroyl glutamic acid. Folic acid was first discovered in yeast from where it was dubbed the 'anti-anaemia factor'.It is unstable when in contact with heat,air,water and alkali and therefore easily estroyed during cooking.
Folic acid is essential fo DNA synthesis and works in the production of red blod cells. It is extremely important for all women planning a pregnancy to take a 400mcg folic acid supplement daily from the start of trying to conceive until the 12th week of pregnancy.
The Benefits of Folic Acid
Neutral Tube Defects-
supplementation with 400mcg daily before conception and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy has been shown to prevent neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida.
Spina bifida is a condition where the spine does not develop properly, leaving a gap in the spine.
During the first month of life, an embryo (developing baby) grows a structure called the neural tube that will eventually form the spine and nervous system. When something goes wrong with this process, the result is called a "neural tube defect". Spina bifida is one type of neural tube defect.
The spine consists of the spinal column, which is a solid structure made up of bones (called vertebral bodies) separated by discs of fibrous tissue. Behind this is an enclosed space called the spinal canal, which contains the spinal cord. The spinal cord connects all the nerves in the body to the brain. The canal is surrounded by arches of bone attached to the backs of the vertebral bodies.
Heart Disease- Folic acid is required to keep homocysteine (an amino acid) levels in the blood rising. Excess homocysteine dramatically increases the rosk of heart disease and may be linked to osteoporosis and strokes.
helps improve lactation.
promotes healthier skina dn may also delay hair greying.
protects the body against intestinal parasites and also against food poisoning.
folic acid supplementation may improve anaemia.
it is required for the protection of S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) which affecrs and may improve mood.
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