Folic Acid and the Benefits for Women

An extremely important nutrient for females that has received a lot of press lately is folic acid.  This member of the B vitamin family gets its name from the Latin word for “leaf” which is folium.  Folic acid was originally extracted from spinach and is an important catalyst in the utilization of amino acids.

Folic acid often works in conjunction with Vitamin B6 in the body to perform many important biochemical functions.  The latest studies suggest that folic acid is an important vitamin throughout a woman’s lifecycle.  Folic acid is known to:

~ Help prevent neural-tube birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly

~ Aid the healthy nervous system development of the fetus

~ Protect against low birth weight, and premature babies

~ Prevent certain types of anemia in menstruating women

~ Help prevent heart disease by changing the toxic amino acid homocysteine, which creates arterial damage, into the benign form amino acid cysteine

~ Promote bone strength and collagen in association with other nutrients                                

~ Maintain a strong immune system

~ Form the genetic substances RNA and DNA for cellular health

~ Assist in digestion through the production of hydrochloric acid

~ Treat anxiety and learning disorders

~ Benefit circulatory problems

~ Help menstrual difficulties

~ Heal ulcers

~ Aid in alcoholism treatment

Folic acid is often deficient in women’s diets due to hectic lifestyles and poor food choices.  It is most predominately found in dark green, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collards as well as citrus fruits and juices.  It is also found in Kidney and lima beans.  It is suggested that women of child-bearing age take at least 800mcg of folic acid per day if they wish to get pregnant.  Increased levels of folic acid are needed for the fetus in the early stages of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is expecting.  The adult female requirement is 400 mcg per day, while the lactating woman needs at least 600 mcg.

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