Folic Acid

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Folic acid is important for women before and during pregnancy as studies suggest it can improve heart health and prevent major birth defects. Dr. Edward Hill discusses folic acid in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B-vitamin that can be found in some enriched foods and vitamin pills. Our bodies use it to make new cells. If women have enough folic acid in their bodies before and during pregnancy, it can decrease the risk for neural tube defects. These are birth defects of the babys brain or spine.

Only a small amount of folic acid is stored in the body. Therefore, you must get folic acid regularly from the foods you eat. Folic acid is found in foods such as liver, kidney, yeast, fruits, leafy vegetables, eggs, whole wheat bread, lima beans and milk.

Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant need extra folic acid to produce more red blood cells and to maintain normal growth of the fetus.

It is recommended that all women who could possibly become pregnant get 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. This could prevent up to 70 percent of some types of serious birth defects.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.