Experts say any woman who can become pregnant must take folic acid; you should take folic acid on daily basis, before pregnancy to keep you healthy, during your pregnancy to protect you from certain ailments and to support your baby’s growth and development.
Folate is a water-soluble vitamin, and it does not store in your body like fat-soluble vitamins, so you need to take it on a daily basis to make sure you always have sufficient available.
Women should take a multivitamin that contains 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, or the same amount in a separate supplement before they get pregnant.
During pregnancy, they need 600 mcg and if they breastfeed, 500 mcg. Some women may require to take very high doses as much as 1,000 micrograms a day, but this must always be done under a doctor’s supervision. These women are those who have a family history of neural tube defects, sickle cell disease or who have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), or malabsorption problems.
Women taking certain medications for cancer, autoimmune diseases or epilepsy also have to take larger doses of folic acid.
Although folic acid is more competently digested and absorbed, you also require getting folate by eating foods such as leafy green vegetables, citrus juices, beans, nuts and seeds, and bread and cereals that are fortified with folic acid.
The good about folate is that you can never get too much of it regardless of how much folate-rich foods you eat along with your folic acid supplement.
You can get folic acid in many types of food. Fruits and vegetables are also good sources of folic acid. Here is a list:
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