Folic acid’s importance for mums-to-be is well documented. Government guidelines recommend women who are planning a pregnancy are advised to take 400 micrograms (µg) of folic acid supplement per day and to continue to take it for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy1. Folate contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy. However, you do not have to be pregnant to benefit from increasing your folic acid intake.
The difference between folate and folic acid
Folate and folic acid are often confused, and it is important to understand the difference. Folic acid is the manufactured form of a vitamin B9, also called folate; folate is the natural version form found in foods.
Why is folic acid important?
Both men and women can benefit from ensuring healthy folate levels.
Folic acid contributes to normal blood formation, the normal function of the immune system and to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Folic acid also has a role in cell division. Notably, the human body does not store folic acid, so NHS guidelines recommend we consume it every day to ensure that we have enough in our system2.
Natural sources of folic acid – folate rich foods
Dark green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts are popular sources of folate (if you do not overcook them!). The longer vegetables are within water, the more vitamins seep are lost so steaming or microwaving is preferable. Less obvious examples include cauliflower, egg yolk, lentils, oranges, parsnips, sunflower seeds, and whole wheat bread.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) maintains that most people should be able to obtain their daily intake of folate from eating a balanced, healthy diet3.
However, some people who do not eat consume enough folic acid due to some medications such as water tablets (also known as diuretics) or if requirements increase (such as during pregnancy). In cases such as these, adding a supplement to your daily routine could be beneficial.
Looking for a folic acid supplement?
If you’re planning to have a baby or are pregnant, we’d recommend looking at the Seven Seas Pregnancy Range, which contains the recommended 400mcg of folic acid along with other key nutrients. If, however, you are looking for Folic acid as part of an everyday supplement to support your overall health and nutrition, please see our Perfect 7 Multivitamin Range which includes Folic acid as well as a range of other vitamins and minerals.
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