January 6 through 12th is National Folic Acid Awareness Week. Adequate folic acid intake is important for the prevention of birth defects.
Folic acid is a B-vitamin that is necessary for proper cell growth. If taken before and during early pregnancy from a multi-vitamin or fortified foods, folic acid can prevent from 50% up to 70% of some forms of serious birth defects of the brain and spine.
Experts recommend that women who could possibly become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily, from:
- fortified foods like grains, pastas, or breakfast cereals,
- daily multi-vitamin, and
- eat a variety of foods as part of a healthy diet.
The easiest way to be sure to get the recommended daily amount of folic acid is to take a multi-vitamin every day.
About folic acid: Folic acid is a B vitamin. Our bodies use it to make new cells. Everyone needs folic acid.