What's your folic acid IQ? Do you know how much to take and when, and why the B vitamin is so important? Take the following quiz and increase your awareness.Take the Quiz
Sanatogen Mother & Father to Be includes multivitamins for both men and women preparing to create a baby. The woman's pills include the usual mix of prenatal supplements, including increased amounts of folic acid, while the men's version is made up of key nutrients like zinc to ensure that his reproductive system is healthy.
Would you put your husband on a male prenatal vitamin to help with conception?
Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin found naturally in many foods. If you've heard of folic acid, it's the synthetic version of it, found in dietary supplements and fortified foods. Not only is folate essential for expecting mothers, but it's necessary for all people since it's needed to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of the cells in our bodies. It's also needed to make red blood cells, to prevent anemia, and may also help prevent cancerous cells from forming.
The RDI of folate for women over 19 is 400 micrograms (mcg). If you're pregnant or trying to conceive, you need 600 mcg of folate. If you're nursing, you need 500 mcg. You can find folate in the food you eat without having to take supplements. Here are 10 excellent sources.
- 1/4 cup peanuts: 207 mcg
- 3 oz. beef liver: 185 mcg
- 1/2 cup garbanzo beans: 134 mcg
- 1 cup navy beans: 129 mcg
- 1/2 cup pinto beans: 117 mcg
- 1/2 cup lentils, split peas, black beans, or kidney beans: 114 mcg
- 1/2 cup black-eyed peas: 105 mcg
- 1/2 cup cooked spinach: 100 mcg
- 1/2 cup corn: 88 mcg
- 4 spears of asparagus: 85 mcg
If the urge to become a mom is in your not-too-distant future, here are some healthy changes you should make before you even think about becoming pregnant.
- Get at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily. This B vitamin helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. Great sources of folic acid include citrus fruits, asparagus, broccoli, beans, peas, peanuts, lentils, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables like spinach. Enriched foods such as cereals and pastas are also good sources. If you're having a hard time obtaining enough from your diet, then take a folic acid supplement.
- Work on improving your overall health. Start watching what you eat, get enough sleep, ditch cigarettes if you smoke, and limit your alcohol consumption. Also make sure to start exercising regularly. Doctors don't recommend increasing your exercise routine too dramatically once you're preggers, so it's best to start before the baby is on its way. Regular exercise will strengthen your body and your immune system, and also help you maintain a healthy body weight during and after pregnancy.
To see the other healthy changes you should make read more
We've told you about the benefits of folic acid for expectant mothers, but now a new study reports that it may also have an effect on the opposite sex. It said:
Researchers have found an association between a vitamin and levels of chromosomal abnormalities in men's sperm. Men who consumed high levels of folate (a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food) and folic acid (the synthetic form of the vitamin) tended to have lower levels of abnormal sperm where a chromosome had been lost or gained (known as aneuploidy).
To find out what men should do, read more
While there has been a lot of focus on how women of childbearing age should make sure they are getting enough folic acid, there has been little talk about men and folate. Until now.
New research has found that men who are thinking about becoming fathers should also be sure they're getting enough folic acid, since the folates that prevent birth defects when consumed by women may also help keep men's sperm normal. Specifically, it was found that men with a higher folate intake had fewer abnormal sperm in which a chromosome had been lost or gained, known as aneuploidy that can cause failure to conceive, up to a third of miscarriages, and children to be born with Down syndrome and other rare chromosomal syndromes.
So if you're looking to conceive anytime soon then hopefully you and your man are getting at least 400 mg a day of folic acid. You can get your folic acid through a supplement or naturally in some foods.
Did you know that it is recommended for women planning to get pregnant to take folic acid for a full year prior to conception? If you didn't know that recommendation, you are not alone. A recent survey completed by the March of Dimes found that the majority of women ages 18 to 24 had no idea about folic acid helping prevent birth defects. Folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) is a B vitamin that helps prevent birth defects of the brain and spine, like spina bifida.
In response to the lack of knowledge on this preventative measure against birth defects, the March of Dimes created this folic acid seal, to help women identify foods that have been fortified with folic acid. The seal certifies that the food contains 10 percent per serving of the recommended daily amount of folic acid for women of childbearing age, which is 400 micrograms. Produce naturally high in folate/folic acid like spinach, strawberries and orange juice, will not bear the symbol, as it will only be used by companies making grain products, like enriched flour.
So if you are looking to start a family start looking for this seal, take a folic acid supplement and/or eating foods naturally high in folate like: asparagus, broccoli, and orange juice.
My mother, a registered nurse who worked on a spina bifida study for years, encouraged me to take prenatal vitamins with an additional folic acid supplement. Folic acid has long been credited with helping to prevent birth defects, including spina bifida. Being my mother and a health professional, I took her advice and followed her direction.
To see the latest on the benefits of folic acid, read more
So I gave you a quiz about your RDI of the basic vitamins and minerals. I didn't mention anything about B vitamins though.
When it comes to B vitamins, there are so many that it can be confusing to know what is what. So, take this quiz to stay on track and learn a bit more about the B world.
Take the Quiz