It takes so much for today’s driven, thriving woman to keep healthy: a proper, well-balanced diet, regular exercise, plenty of sleep, scheduled check-ups. Add in ensuring you get enough nutrients and vitamins and it becomes more complicated. But if there’s one vitamin every woman must absolutely be taking, it’s folic acid.
WHAT FOLIC ACID IS
Folate is a form of vitamin B9. It’s called folic acid in its synthetic form—in multivitamins, fortified food, and food supplements. Folic acid is essential for red blood cell (RBC) production, the synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA, and supporting functions of the immune and nervous systems. All great, but what does this mean for us?
WHY FOLIC ACID IS IMPORTANT
RBCs supply the body with oxygen, bringing it from your lungs all the way to your organs. If your body doesn’t produce enough RBCs, you become more susceptible to anemia. Symptoms of folate-deficiency anemia include fatigue, pale skin, and headaches. Folate also helps maintain a healthy heart, assisting with metabolic functions that help prevent cardiovascular problems such as high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and stroke.
Apart from these great health benefits, folic acid is most known as a prenatal vitamin. Girlie Cruz Encabo, M.D., Pediatrician, points out that women, especially those who are pregnant or looking to get pregnant, must take extra care to ensure they get enough of this vitamin. “Women of reproductive age, from 15-45 years old, should be getting enough folic acid daily. It has a lot of benefits, but most of all, it supports a healthy pregnancy.”
Folic acid has been found to reduce risk of pregnancy complications, such as giving birth prematurely and miscarriage. It’s essential to the growth of a developing embryo. Of all its functions, it’s recognized for protecting against neural tube defects—serious birth complications in the brain, skull, and spinal cord that can lead to surgery, permanent disabilities, and even death. “Birth defects usually occur within the first weeks, often when women aren’t even aware they are pregnant yet. Take folic acid on a regular basis, take it when you’re planning to conceive, take it throughout your pregnancy to support your baby’s growth and development, and of course for your own health,” Dr. Encabo shares. The recommended dietary allowances for women is 400 micrograms (mcg) daily. Pregnant women are advised to up their intake to 600 mcg, especially during the first 3 months. For breastfeeding moms, 500 mcg of folic acid is enough to support both you and your new baby.
Other benefits? (Yes, we’re not done just yet!) Folic acid keeps the amino acid homocysteine in check, which when found in high levels in blood is linked to loss of memory and brain functions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Studies show that deficiency is also associated with higher risk of developing clinical depression, allergic diseases, age-related hearing loss, and changes in DNA that may lead to cancer.
HOW TO INTAKE FOLIC ACID
So where do you get more of this super vitamin? Folic acid is found naturally in green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower. Egg yolks, liver, lentils, peas, and citrus fruits are good sources as well, so make sure to include them in your diet! During your next breakfast, check the labels of your cereal, bread, and juice boxes—some food products have been fortified with folic acid precisely because it helps reduce neural tube defects.
Focus on maintaining a balanced diet with plenty of these nutrient-rich food. However, even with careful planning, it still can be tricky to get the vitamins you need, especially at critical stages in your life. Note that folic acid in particular is water-soluble, meaning your body uses it very quickly! You need to make sure you always have it available, so make it a daily habit! This is when multivitamins and food supplements become helpful.
We like the Doppelherz Aktiv Omega3 + Folic Acid + B6 + B12. Apart from containing your daily dose of folic acid, this health supplement literally cares for your heart—it’s a wondrous combination of salmon oil, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DPA)—or simply omega-3. These essential fatty acids work together to prevent and reverse a wide range of diseases. They have more benefits for a healthy pregnancy too, replenishing nutrients for breastfeeding moms and assisting with visual and cognitive development for infants. Studies show sufficient omega-3 helps with attention and focus, key components of intelligence in your little one’s formative years.
So what are you waiting for? Start stocking up on this hardworking vitamin and make it a habit to take it for a happy heart, a healthy pregnancy, and peace of mind.
The Doppelherz Aktiv Omega3 + Folic Acid + B6 + B12 is available on BeautyMNL for P720. Shop it right here!
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