Folic Acid Summary   Leave a comment

Since folic acid (vitamin B9) was mentioned frequently in the information about vitamin B12, I figure that is a logical next direction for my research to take. Luckily, I’m not deficient in folate, but I am borderline. Folate, like vitamin B12, is necessary for all cell growth, and as probably everyone knows that folate deficiency during the very beginning (first 4 weeks) of pregnancy can result in neural tube defects in the developing fetus (among other problems). Apparently blood folate levels drop during pregnancy, too. All the more reason to raise a borderline level beforehand.

Folic acid is water soluble, though, so any excess is excreted, not stored. It looks like folate is not stored in the body long term, and therefore consumption needs to be frequent to keep blood folate levels sufficiently high. I suppose this also means that you can have high folate blood levels one day and low levels the next depending on what you ate that day.

Seems like it should be easy to raise/keep good folate blood levels, since the list of foods that naturally contain folate is very large, most cereals and breads are fortified now, I’ve started on a B-complex supplement, and I’ll be taking a pre-natal vitamin with folic acid. According to the USDA, good natural sources of folate include lentils, garbanzo beans, spinach, black beans, asparagus, beef, collard greens, white beans, turnip greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, lettuce, and mustard greens. Those are all things that I like to eat, and eat on a regular or semi-regular basis. Generally, I’m not a fan of trying to measure daily consumption of nutrients, but rather trying to eat a variety of good foods that will contribute sufficient nutrients on a bulk level. I’d go crazy trying to keep track of individual nutrients AND enjoy my food. Plus, I don’t think my stomach could physically hold that much food each day.

It’s kind of funny that when I went to see an ob/gyn and asked about pregnancy preparation, his answer was just to take a prenatal vitamin so that I have enough folate; but after the results of the tests my ND had done, folate is not the nutrient that is the highest concern.

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Posted August 26, 2010 by mayakey in health, pre-pregnancy

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