What Are The Benefits of Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a form of B vitamin that’s used to help prevent major birth defects of the brain and spine.
How does folic acid work?
During pregnancy, a baby’s neural tube — which becomes the baby’s spine and brain — develops very early on, often before the mother even knows she is pregnant. Folic acid is thought to help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s spine and brain by helping prevent the neural tube from developing improperly.
What are some other benefits of folic acid?
Some research shows that folic acid may help prevent colon cancer Save lives after a heart attack Improve mental health Prevent dementia Reduce death due to cardiovascular disease.
Prevent stroke Reduce the number of strokes and heart attacks in people with a common heart condition known as patent foramen ovale (PFO) Prevent preeclampsia, a potentially serious pregnancy complication.
Are there any risks associated with taking folic acid?
Taking too much folic acid can cause side effects. It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take more than 1,000 milligrams per day of folic acid. Taking a multivitamin with folic acid and too much vitamin B12 may cause the body to store too much iron, which might help fuel the growth of cancerous tumors.
What foods provide folic acid?
Foods that naturally contain folate include: Fortified breakfast cereals Dark green leafy vegetables Beans and peas Broccoli Asparagus Orange juice Soybeans
It is also added to many grain products, including slices of bread and portions of pasta. The liver is the only significant source of dietary unprocessed folic acid.
Are there any interactions with medications that increase my risk of side effects?
Taking folic acid along with some medications may increase your risk of side effects. These include Atorvastatin (Lipitor) Diclofenac (Voltaren) Diflunisal (Dolobid) Etodolac (Lodine) Fenoprofen (Nalfon) Flurbiprofen (Ansaid) Indomethacin (Indocin) Ketoprofen (Orudis) Lansoprazole (Prevacid) Meloxicam (Mobic) Omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid) Piroxicam (Feldene) Tolmetin (Tolectin) Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).
Folic acid tablets before pregnancy:
Taking contraceptive pills or folic acid tablets before pregnancy may reduce the risk of having a child with autism.
A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that women who took contraceptive pills during their teenage years were less likely to have kids with autism when they got older.
Another study shows that when pregnant women take folic acid, the risk of having a child with autism is reduced.
Both findings were reported by researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.
“Women who used oral contraceptives at any point in their lives, for whatever reason, had a modestly lower risk for having a child with autism,” said Sharona Gordon, Ph.D., study lead author and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine, part of UC San Diego Health.
The researchers looked at health insurance claims for approximately 63 million people between 2000 and 2012, including more than 31 million women. The data allowed them to compare rates of autism diagnoses with previous contraceptive use.
Folic acid side effects:
“Our results suggest a need to further evaluate the role of folic acid supplementation during pregnancy in autism risk,” said senior author, James F. Leckman, MD, the Neison Harris Professor of Pediatric Neuroscience and Director for the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research at New York University School of Medicine.
A smaller study published last year showed a possible link between a mother’s use of folic acid supplements and a lower risk for autism.
Folic acid tablets during pregnancy:
That research – also published in JAMA Psychiatry – involved more than 85,000 children born in Norway. That study found that pregnant women who took folic acid at least one month before getting pregnant up to one month after birth reduced their child’s risk of developing autism by 15 percent.
Use of folic acid during pregnancy has been recommended for more than 10 years.
“The potential protective effect of folic acid supplementation may be the result of improved maternal-fetal circulation or protecting against cell damage or oxidation,” Gordon said. “More research is needed, particularly on the use of prenatal folic acid supplements.”
when to take folic acid morning or night:
Gordon and her colleagues said that the findings of both studies need to be confirmed by other research and that more study is needed into how folic acid supplementation during pregnancy might prevent autism.
Folic acid tablets before conception:
Further, they said women with a family history of autism may also benefit from taking additional folic acid before they get pregnant as a possible way to reduce their risk of having a child with autism.
In the meantime, experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that a woman who is thinking of becoming pregnant should not start or stop taking any type of medication without first talking to her doctor.
“There are many reasons why a woman might have difficulty getting pregnant,” says Lisa M. Bodnar, Ph.D., R.N., an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Genetics.