If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you may have heard about the importance of folic acid. At My Concierge MD, we believe that folic acid is a critical component of prenatal care.
We offer folic acid injection therapy as a convenient and effective way for pregnant women to get the necessary nutrients. This blog post will explore why folic acid is essential and how you can ensure you’re getting enough.
What Is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a type of B vitamin essential for healthy growth and development. It plays a crucial role in producing new cells, including red blood cells, and helps prevent congenital disabilities.
Folic acid is found in many foods, such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and fortified cereals. However, getting enough folic acid through diet alone can be difficult, so supplements and folic acid injection therapy can be important for pregnant women.
Why Is Folic Acid Important In Prenatal Care?
Folic acid is especially important for pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant. Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.
Neural tube defects occur when the neural tube, which forms the baby’s brain and spinal cord, doesn’t close properly. This can lead to severe birth defects and lifelong disabilities.
It’s important to note that neural tube defects occur very early in pregnancy, often before a woman knows she’s pregnant.
That’s why it’s crucial for women who are planning to become pregnant to get enough folic acid in their diets or through supplements. In addition to preventing congenital disabilities, folic acid can reduce the risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight.
How can Women Ensure they Get Enough Folic Acid?
The recommended daily intake of folic acid for women of childbearing age and pregnant women is 400-800 micrograms. It’s best to get folic acid from various sources, including foods naturally high in folic acid and fortified foods like cereals and bread.
Talk to your healthcare provider about taking a folic acid supplement if you’re not sure you’re getting enough folic acid through your diet.
At My Concierge MD, we offer folic acid injection therapy as a convenient and effective way for pregnant women to get the necessary nutrients. Folic acid injections can be beneficial for women who have trouble absorbing nutrients from their food or who have difficulty swallowing pills.
Foods To Avoid When Taking Folic Acid
While it’s essential to make sure you’re getting enough folic acid through your diet or supplements, there are certain foods you should avoid when taking folic acid to ensure optimal absorption and effectiveness. Here are some foods to avoid when taking folic acid:
Raw or Undercooked Meat
Eating raw or undercooked meat, including beef, poultry, and pork, can increase your risk of foodborne illness. In addition, raw meat can contain high folate antagonists, which can interfere with folic acid absorption.
Liver and Liver Products
The liver is a good source of many nutrients but is also high in vitamin A, which can be harmful in large amounts during pregnancy. In addition, liver products such as pâté can contain high folate antagonists.
Unpasteurized Dairy Products
Unpasteurized dairy products such as raw milk, cheese, and yogurt can contain harmful bacteria that can increase the risk of foodborne illness. In addition, these products can have high levels of folate antagonists.
Alcohol can interfere with folic acid absorption and increase the risk of birth defects. It’s essential to avoid alcohol during pregnancy to ensure the health and safety of your baby.
While it’s vital to ensure you’re getting enough folic acid, taking high-dose supplements can be harmful. High doses of folic acid can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency and may increase the risk of certain cancers.
Folic Acid Benefits For Men
While folic acid is often associated with prenatal care and women’s health, it also provides important benefits for men. Here are some of the critical benefits of folic acid for men:
Supports Sperm Health
Folic acid is essential for the healthy development and function of sperm. Studies have shown that folic acid supplementation can improve sperm count, motility, and morphology and reduce the risk of sperm DNA damage. This can enhance male fertility and increase the chances of conception.
Reduces the Risk of Certain Cancers
Folic acid has been shown to protect against certain cancers, including colon, prostate, and lung cancer. Studies have found that men who consume higher levels of folic acid have a lower risk of developing these types of cancer.
Supports Heart Health
Folic acid plays a role in reducing levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. By lowering homocysteine levels, folic acid can help to protect against cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Boosts Mood and Cognitive Function
Folic acid produces neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are crucial in regulating mood and cognitive function. Studies have found that folic acid supplementation can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as improve cognitive function and memory.
Supports Overall Health and Wellness
Folic acid is essential for many bodily processes, including immune function, energy production, and red blood cell formation. By supporting these processes, folic acid can help to promote overall health and wellness.
What Are The Risks Of Not Getting Enough Folic Acid?
Folic acid deficiency during pregnancy can lead to serious health problems for both the mother and the baby. In addition to increasing the risk of neural tube defects, folic acid deficiency can lead to anemia and other health problems for the mother. That’s why it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough folic acid, whether through your diet or supplements.
Differences Between Folate And Folic Acid During Pregnancy
Folate and folic acid are two forms of vitamin B9 that are often used interchangeably, but there are some essential differences between them regarding pregnancy.
Folate is the natural vitamin B9 found in foods such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and legumes. On the other hand, Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 used in supplements and fortified foods. While the body can easily absorb and use folate from food sources, folic acid must be converted into its active form, L-methyl folate, before using it.
Regarding pregnancy, folate, and folic acid are important for supporting healthy fetal growth and development. However, studies have shown that folic acid supplementation may be more effective at reducing the risk of certain birth defects, such as neural tube defects.
One of the main differences between folate and folic acid during pregnancy is its use. Folate is often recommended for women trying to conceive or in the early stages of pregnancy, as it is vital for healthy fetal development during these crucial periods.
On the other hand, Folic acid is often used to supplement the diet to ensure that pregnant women get enough vitamin B9 to support fetal growth and development.
In terms of outcomes, both folate and folic acid have been shown to reduce the risk of specific congenital disabilities, particularly neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
However, folic acid supplementation may be more effective at reducing the risk of these birth defects than folate from food sources alone.
Regarding side effects, folate, and folic acid are generally well-tolerated and safe for most women to take during pregnancy. However, some women may experience side effects such as nausea, stomach upset, and skin reactions when taking folic acid supplements.
It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any supplements or changing your diet during pregnancy to ensure safety and optimal dosing.
Folic acid is a critical component of prenatal care, and pregnant women must ensure they get enough. At My Concierge MD, we believe that folic acid injection therapy is convenient and effective for pregnant women to get the necessary nutrients.
If you have questions about folic acid or want to learn more about folic acid injection therapy, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of healthcare providers is here to support you throughout your pregnancy and beyond.