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Folic Acid is a B-Vitamin - Vitamin B9 to be exact - that is necessary for proper cell growth. If Folic Acid is taken before and during early pregnancy, folic acid can prevent up to 70% of serious birth defects of the brain and spine, called neural tube defects.
The CDC and the United States Public Health Service recommends that all women between the ages of 15 to 45 years of age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to prevent two types of neural tube defects - spina bifida, and anencephaly. Since these birth defects develop within the first few weeks of pregnancy, it is important to have enough folic acid in your body before becoming pregnant and to continue getting enough folic acid during early pregnancy.
Women need folic acid even if they are not planning to become pregnant, as it is also vital in making red blood cells. Without enough folic acid, you can suffer from folate deficiency anemia.
Folic acid is also helpful for synthesizing and repairing one's DNA and RNA, preventing age related hearing loss, and helps in new cell growth.
As stated above, women should take a minimum of 400 micrograms of folic acid a day, and up to 800 micrograms if they are pregnant. This can be obtained by taking a multivitamin, or in the foods that you eat.
Folic acid is naturally found in foods, such as:
Stay committed to your health and remember to take the recommended dose of folic acid each day to ensure yours and/or your child's safety.
PLEASE CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL BEFORE TAKING ANY MEDICATION, SUPPLEMENTS, OR BEGINNING A HEALTH REGIMEN.