The vitamin folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, enjoys great popularity. For a consistent, sufficient supply of folic acid in children and during pregnancy can drastically reduce the risk of severe birth defects in unborn children. Folic acid, which is activated by vitamin B12 in the body, is significantly involved in cell formation and cell protection.
100 million new cells
Women of childbearing potential who ingest daily 400 micrograms of folic acid show a high degree of responsibility. During pregnancy, the rate of cell division increases and up to 100 million new cells are formed. This increases the need for folic acid in a pregnant woman by 50 percent. The additional intake of this vitamin as well as vitamin B12 during pregnancy, but also when children are ready, can therefore be generally advisable.
Folic acid at the request of the child
Studies have shown that women could reduce the risk of malformations by 50 to 70 percent by taking 600 micrograms of folic acid daily, at least four weeks before the onset of pregnancy, and especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. Known malformations in children, for example, a neural tube defect, also known as open back. This malformation is attributed to a lack of folic acid during pregnancy.
An adequate supply of folic acid is of particular importance in the first trimester of pregnancy, because the formation of the neural tube is already completed in this early phase. Therefore, the broad education is necessary to counteract folic acid deficiency. This concerns first and foremost women with children or pregnant women, who should pay attention to the adequate supply of folic acid at an early stage.
Folic acid and food
Women, especially pregnant women, tend to take in too little folic acid through their diet. Although folic acid is present in many foods, such as green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts and lettuce), wheat germ, whole grains and egg yolk. However, the increased need for folic acid in pregnancy usually can not be met.
In addition, the body has no storage system for folic acid. Folic acid is also a very sensitive vitamin: Oxygen, heat and light make the content of high-folic acid-rich foods rapidly shrink.
Furthermore, most women are not yet aware of their pregnancy at an early stage and therefore they can not adjust to a corresponding high-folic acid diet. The early additional intake of folic acid can therefore already be decisive from the point of having children.
Pregnancy and folic acid
Against this background, the German Nutrition Society recommends pregnant women and all women who wish to have children to take in 550 micrograms of folic acid daily. Of these, a maximum of 400 micrograms should be taken on dietary supplements. It makes sense to use preparations that contain folic acid in combination with vitamins B6 and B12. These preparations are the most effective way of protecting the cells from harmful effects. The vitamin B12 also activates folic acid in the body.
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment advises not to take more than 3.5 milligrams of vitamin B6 and 25 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily via dietary supplements.
Depot preparations with folic acid for pregnant women
Also to be mentioned are depot preparations that release the vitamins into the digestive tract with a time delay. The organism rejects one-time, too-high shots as it has no storage system for folic acid.
Preparations such as Femibion®, Folio® or Orthomol Natal® are examples of dietary supplements that aim to supply folic acid for pregnancy and childbearing.
An adequate supply of folic acid during pregnancy and thus an effective protection for the unborn child is no longer a problem today: High-quality depot preparations are available in every pharmacy from different suppliers.