Women of Child Bearing Age & Folic Acid

From a recent Centers for Disease Control report, most women from the ages of 18-24 are not aware of the importance of folic acid supplementation and do not supplement with folic acid. According to the report “Because women from this age group account for nearly one third of all births in the United States, promotion of folic acid consumption should be targeted to this population.”

Folic acid is a vitamin that reduces the risk of a serious birth defects of the brain and the spine called neural tube defects. The recommended consumption of folic acid is 400 micrograms per day for women of child-bearing age. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) increases in pregnancy and breast feeding.

Some foods rich in folic acid include enriched breakfast cereal, orange juice, spinach, asparagus, lentils, and garbanzo beans.

Besides for the prevention of neural tube defects, folic acid is also used to lower cardiovascular risk (when deficient, prevention of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, and gingivitis. Adequate levels of folic acid may also protect against breast cancer and help with depression.

For more information on nutrients that are commonly deficient in American diets, listen to my podcast called Response to Reader’s Digest Article on Supplements through iTunes or your Web Browser.

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