Folic acid and pregnancy? Better safe than sorry – most women in the childbearing age should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid each day! An expert panel in the US* recently published an updated recommendation regarding women, pregnancy and their folic acid intake.
They recommend that women in the childbearing age, and not just pregnant women, or women planning to become pregnant, consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid per day. This is because folic acid significantly reduces the risk of the child developing neural tube defects. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate – the water-soluble B9 vitamin found in green vegetables.
So why is every woman capable of pregnancy recommended to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid? Easy: around half of all pregnancies are not planned! And due to the fact that folic acid exerts its effects predominately one month before conception and into two-three months of pregnancy, it is advised that all women capable of becoming pregnant should consume 400 micrograms of folate each day – just in case.
The natural occurring folate is especially abundant in green leafy vegetables, legumes, and oranges. It is, however, very difficult to consume the recommended amount from foods. In fact, the synthetic folic acid used in supplements and fortified food products is absorbed better in the human body compared to the natural folate from foods. Therefore, the best strategy to make sure you get enough is to get it from multivitamins or fortified foods.
At NJORD, we have added 400 micrograms of folic acid to our products for women, and now you know why… just in case… 😉
What are neural tube defects?
Neural tube defects (NTD) are birth defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord, and are one of the most common birth defects. Often, they occur before a woman even knows about her pregnancy. In the first month of pregnancy, the neural tube is formed, and when it does not close completely as it should, an NTD is developed. The malformations vary a lot in severity. From small cosmetic imperfections to defects incompatible with life. The most common malformation is called spina bifida – which affects the spine. 70% of these cases can be prevented by maternal folic acid supplementation.
* The United States Preventive Services Task Force. The USPSTF is an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services. You can find the article with the recommendations on folic acid here.
Interested in some tips regarding food during your pregnancy? Our lovely foodie and ambassador, Josefine, has a few tips on eating healthy during pregnancy.
Are you curious on your needs of vitamins and minerals? NJORD is a health supplement which is personalized to your diet and needs. Try our test here.