Folic acid (pteroylmonoglutamic acid) is the synthetic form of folate, which is a very important B vitamin (Vitamin B9). Manufacturers have created folic acid to fortify certain products and to create a supplemental form of folate. Folate is very important for our health as it helps create red blood cells in our bodies, which helps with the transport of oxygen within our bodies.
Taking folic acid is common with pregnant women as it helps prevent neural tube defects and irregularities in infants. However, for the most part, folate deficiency is rare and sufficient folate levels can be achieved through our diets. Let’s investigate folic acid supplements further to understand their importance.
The Different Types Of Folic Acid Supplements
Folic acid supplements usually contain folic acid in the formula. They may also contain other B vitamins or be offered as a Vitamin B complex. Folic acid is the synthetic form of Vitamin B9 or folate, so that is the most common ingredient in folic acid supplement formulas. Most folic acid supplements contain between 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid a day. This is because pregnant women are the biggest users of folic acid supplements, and they are required to get 400-800 mcg a day.
Folic Acid Supplement Benefits
Folic acid is the manufactured synthetic form of folate, so let’s take a look at folate’s health benefits. These benefits include:
- Prevention of neural tube defects and irregularities in infants
- Reduces the risk of preterm birth
- Reduces the risk of depression
- May reduce the chance of a baby having autism if taken before and during pregnancy
- Helps the body make new red blood cells
- Prevents folate deficiency anemia
- May prevent changes to DNA that cause cancer
- May prevent heart diseases
Folate is essential for our overall health, and although folate deficiency is rare, some individuals, like pregnant women, may require folic acid supplements.
Should I Take Folic Acid Supplements?
Most people are able to get sufficient folate from their diets. However, folic acid supplements are crucial for pregnant women and women who might get pregnant as folic acid and folate are crucial for early fetal development. Deficiency in folate can cause issues with spinal cord development as well as neurological impairment, like autism.
Consulting with your doctor before taking folic acid supplements is crucial as often it is not needed and may have adverse effects within the body if you’re taking too much.
Do Folic Acid Supplements Really Work?
Folic acid supplements have been studied and used for quite some time. They are known to be effective in increasing folate levels in the body, especially with pregnant women. Researchers know that folic acid supplements are crucial for fetal health and overall development, so it is strongly advised to take folic acid because it really works.
There are other benefits of folic acid supplements that are not as heavily studied, but the primary use is for pregnant women, and that is known to be effective for both them and their fetus.
Best Folic Acid Supplements
Nutricost Folic Acid
This supplement contains 1000 mcg of Vitamin B9/ folic acid. It is non-GMO, gluten-free, and comes at an affordable price. It is one of the more well-rated folic acid supplements on the market.
Pink Stork Folate Prenatal Support
This product is targeted towards pregnant women. It contains 600 mcg of folic acid. It comes in easy to swallow capsules and contains 5-MTHF, which is the usable form of folate within the body. This product is very highly rated.
Nature’s Bounty Folic Acid
This product contains 800 mcg of folic acid. This company is one of the more well-known supplement companies. It’s also the most affordable folic acid supplement on the market.
Folic Acid Supplement Alternatives
Most people are able to get enough folate in their diets and do not require folic acid supplementation. The following are dietary sources rich in folate:
- Boiled spinach
- Black eyed peas
- Beef liver
- Brussel sprouts
- Kidney beans
If you are concerned about your folate levels, see a doctor. Folate-deficiency anemia can lead to weakness and overall fatigue, so if you are experiencing these symptoms, see a doctor and find out if you should be taking folic acid supplements.
The Importance Of Folic Acid
Folate or Vitamin B9 is crucial for our health. It helps promote the growth of our cells, including red blood cells, while also helping reduce the risk of cancers, depression, and neural tube defects in infants. It is commonly used by pregnant women or women looking to get pregnant, however in some rare situations, folic acid supplementation may be required. Always consult with a doctor before use.