Folic acid in pregnancy
Women who already have a desire to have children or who are sometimes pregnant should take care to take more folic acid. The folic acid, which belongs to the group of B vitamins, is involved in the growth processes taking place in the body, in the formation of blood as well as in cell division.
Why should the body be supplied with folic acid?
Folic acid - also known as vitamin M, vitamin B11 or vitamin B9 - can not be produced by the body itself. This means you have to be careful to consume enough folic acid through your diet. If you look deeper into the matter, you will also find that there are industrially produced folic acid and naturally occurring folates.
Folic acid plays a role that should not be underestimated, especially in the various growth processes as well as in cell division. Due to the fact that the hematopoietic cells divide in the bone marrow, it is important that a supply sufficient for the blood formation is provided with the vitamin.
Which foods are folic acid-containing?
Here the name is already program: "Folium", the Latin term for "leaf", here already the way - a natural source is namely the green leafy vegetables (for example, spinach). Other folic acid suppliers include:
- egg yolk
- Vegetables - such as cabbage, lettuce, asparagus and tomatoes
- Pulses such as peas or soybeans
- whole grain products
- wheat bran
The synthetic folic acid is also found in vitamin juices and in common salt.
What is the daily requirement?
The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) has recommended the following daily intake:
- Children over 13 years and adults: 300 micrograms / day
- Pregnant: 550 micrograms / day
- Nursing women: 450 micrograms / day
- Infants younger than four months: 60 micrograms / day
- Babies between 4 and 12 months: 80 micrograms / day
- Children younger than four years: 120 micrograms / day
- Children between 4 and 7 years: 140 micrograms / day
- Children younger than 10 years: 180 micrograms / day
- Children between 10 and 13 years: 240 micrograms / day
Women with children and pregnant women should also take a supplement in tablet form. The dose should be discussed with the attending physician.
The daily requirement, which is around 300 micrograms, can be achieved with regular consumption of green leafy vegetables, which include spinach, salads, sweet peppers, whole grains, tomatoes or even nuts or eggs. It is important that you achieve a colorful mix here. If you stick to the rule "five a day", ie eating a hand-sized portion of fruit as well as vegetables five times a day, you probably will not have any problems in getting to the required 300 micrograms.
Due to the fact that folic acid is water soluble, you should prepare the vegetables as gently as possible. Because who cooks the leafy vegetables, which ensures that the folic acid content is reduced. That means you should only cook the vegetables for a short time.
Caution: pregnant women should pay attention to a good folic acid supply! However, one should not fall back on the liver as a folic acid supplier here. If it comes to a vitamin A overdose, so that is harmful to the unborn child. It is important that the folic acid dose as well as any preparations to provide the body with sufficient folic acid, are discussed with the attending physician. As a rule, this will prescribe certain tablets, which ensure that the pregnant woman is supplied with enough folic acid.
How do you notice a lack of folic acid?
In Germany, the recommended intake values are hardly reached. Folic acid deficiency is not uncommon even in the western industrialized countries - this is because, above all, one-sided nutrition ensures that people do not ingest enough folic acid. But also various medications, such as for the treatment of cancer or epilepsy and alcohol abuse make sure not to be able to take the recommended amount of folic acid. If there is a shortage, it can sometimes lead to anemia. A low folic acid intake can also promote malformations in an unborn child, such as neural tube defects.
Can folic acid be overdosed?
There are no known hazards arising from the intake of too much natural folic acid, ie folate. On the other hand, if you have consumed too much synthetic folic acid: sometimes the over-supply causes symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency - that is, as an adult, you should be careful that the amount of 1,000 micrograms folic acid / day is not exceeded. Of course, lower values apply here for children and adolescents.
Before resorting to vitamin supplements, you should always consult with the attending physician or pharmacist. Dietary supplements are not always useful. An unsuitable combination of preparations or an overdose can sometimes do more harm than expected. Especially when pregnant, you should be extra careful.