Science

Daily Supplement For Women Is A Must: Expert Said From A Report

By Dante Noe Raquel II , Jan 16, 2017 09:23 PM EST
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Folic acid, or folate, is a B vitamin of extreme importance during pregnancy. It’s necessary to make extra red blood cells for growth of the fetus, carries oxygen to the body and helps reduce baby’s risk of birth defects.<br /> (Photo : Live Superfoods / Youtube)

Whether it's antioxidants, multivitamins, probiotics, or good old Vitamin C, the sad truth is that most supplements and vitamins you see on your store shelves are impractical - and it could even be unsafe for your health.

But there's one big exemption when it comes to women who are thinking about getting pregnant at some stage in their lives - folic acid, which is one of the rare supplements that has some strong scientific backing.

The Importance of Folic Acid During Pregnancy

Per a new report from the US Preventive Services Task Force - an independent, volunteer-driven panel of health experts - anyone who can get pregnant should be taking folic acid supplements daily, even if you're not planning to get pregnant soon.

The report emphasizes the fact that most women do not get the suggested daily amount intake of folate - a type of B vitamin - from their diets alone, which makes the folic acid supplement an important thought.

The difference between folate and folic acid is that folic acid refers to an oxidized synthetic compound that can be taken in supplements or encouraged food, which mimics the effects of naturally occurring folate.

The concern that most women aren't getting sufficient folate from their diets is that a healthy supply of folate can stop some of the most common birth defects from happening - neural tube defects, which can extremely alter the development of the brain, skull, and spine, and lead to incapacity or death.

"Neural tube defects are among the most mutual major congenital irregularities in the United States and may lead to a range of incapacities or even death," the US Preventive Services Task Force reports.

"Women who have a particular or family history of a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect are at bigger risk of having an affected pregnancy. However, most cases occur in the absence of any personal or family history." The expert's recommendation is that anyone who can get pregnant should be taking a daily dose that includes 0.4 to 0.8 milligrams of folic acid.

The report reevaluates its 2009 recommendation - originally based on a meta-analysis of the efficacy of folic acid supplementation in the deterrence of neural tube defects - and combines it with new information from more recent studies.

For example, one study reported a defensive effect of folic acid to fight neural tube defects, finding that just one neural tube defect occurred in 3,056 women who took folic acid supplements, while nine occurred in 3,056 women who did not.

There are firm times where folate levels are more crucial for growth than others, and women can't be expected to alter their diets, he points out. "For illustration, a women who does not eat cereal grain early in pregnancy, or who is on a diet that removes those products may still be at risk," he told Vox.

So, ditch the multivitamins and probiotics, and spend your coinage on folic acid as a replacement for. It's not going to do any harm, but could end up doing you and your future child a world of good.

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