Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a naturally-occurring B vitamin. Folate helps make DNA and other genetic material, and is particularly important in prenatal health.
Folate, also known as Vitamin B9, is a B vitamin that occurs naturally in certain foods. Folic acid is the form of folate that manufacturers add to fortified foods and vitamin supplements.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of folic acid, why it’s important for pregnancy, its benefits, and more.
What is Folic Acid? Why Is It Important?
Folic acid is the man-made form of folate, a B Vitamin. Folate is naturally found in certain nuts, fruits, and vegetables. On the other hand, folic acid is found in fortified foods and vitamin supplements.
Folate and folic acid help the body make new, healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the parts of your body. If your body does not make enough red blood cells, you may develop anemia. Anemia occurs when your blood cannot carry enough oxygen to your body, which makes you tired, weak, or pale. Also, if you do not get enough folic acid, you may develop a type of anemia known as folate-deficiency anemia.
Folic Acid Vitamins for Pregnancy
If you have been looking at supplements for fertility, you may have come across recommendations for folic acid. But, what exactly is its role in pregnancy? How does it help pregnant women or women who are trying to conceive?
Folic Acid and Female Fertility. Women who don’t get enough folic acid in their diet are at a higher risk of having a baby with neural tube defects. Neural tube defects include encephalocele, spina bifida, and anencephaly. These birth defects occur in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows that she’s pregnant. Folic acid might also help prevent other types of birth defects and miscarriage.
While folic acid can’t completely eliminate the risk of these birth defects, folic acid supplementation before conception and continued through early pregnancy has been found to reduce the risk of these birth defects by up to 60%.
Other potential benefits of folic acid supplementation include:
- A lower risk of low-birth-weight babies
- A lower risk of preterm birth
- A lower risk of congenital heart defects
- A lower risk of irregular ovulation
- Increased progesterone levels
How Much Folic Acid Do Women Need?
Most women are advised to take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Women who can get pregnant should get 400 – 800 micrograms of folic acid from a vitamin supplement or from foods that has added folic acid. This is in addition to the folate that you naturally get from food.
Some women may require more folic acid each day. Refer to the table below to find out how much folic acid you require.
|If you:||Amount of folic acid you may need daily|
|Could get pregnant or are pregnant||400–800 micrograms. Your doctor may prescribe a prenatal vitamin with more.|
|Had a baby with a neural tube defect (such as spina bifida) and want to get pregnant again||4,000 micrograms. Your doctor may prescribe this amount. Research shows taking this amount may lower the risk of having another baby with spina bifida.|
|Have a family member with spina bifida and could get pregnant||4,000 micrograms. Your doctor may prescribe this amount.|
|Have spina bifida and want to get pregnant||4,000 micrograms. Your doctor may prescribe this amount. Women with spina bifida have a higher risk of having children with the condition.|
|Take medicines to treat epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus||Talk to your doctor or nurse. Folic acid supplements can interact with these medicines.|
|Are on dialysis for kidney disease||Talk to your doctor or nurse.|
|Have a health condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease, that affects how your body absorbs folic acid||Talk to your doctor or nurse.|
Foods Rich in Folate and Folic Acid
Folate is found naturally in certain foods. Food that are naturally high in folate include
- Whole grains
- Dark green, leafy vegetables
- Beef liver
Other foods with folate include kidney beans, wheat germ, crab, turnip greens, bananas, tomato juice, papaya, and green peas.
Folic acid is added to foods that are processed or refined. This includes:
- Breakfast cereals
- White rice
Folic Acid Vitamins and Supplements
Despite eating a folic acid or folate-rich diet, most women still don’t get enough folic acid in their diet. Because many pregnancies are unplanned, and because folic acid must be present before you get pregnant, experts recommend that all women of childbearing age must take a daily supplement that includes at least 400 mcg of folic acid.
Folic Acid Vitamins Brand in the Philippines. Looking for folic acid vitamins in the Philippines? Listed below are some of our top recommendations.
- Puritan’s Pride Premium Folic Acid Supplement
Puritan’s Pride Premium Folic Acid Supplement is 100% made from plant extracts and does not contain any animal products or artificial additives, making it ideal for vegetarians and people with allergies associated with animal proteins. This folic acid supplement plays a vital role in a healthy pregnancy, and supports cardiovascular and nervous system health as well. It is also good for energy metabolism.
A bottle of Puritan’s Pride Premium Folic Acid contains 250 tablets, with each tablet having 400 mcg folic acid.
- Nature’s Blend Folic Acid Supplement
Nature’s Blend Folic Acid Supplement is a dietary supplement made from readily available natural ingredients that provide only nutrients and health benefits. It does not contain any animal products or artificial additives. It is purely natural with no allergens present. Nature’s Blend Folic Acid Supplement is suitable for both men and women. It is an essential vitamin for prenatal health and support heart health in men and women.
A bottle of Nature’s Blend Folic Acid Supplement contains 1,000 tablets with each tablet having 1,000 mcg folic acid.
- BioTech B6 Folic Acid Capsules
BioTech B6 Folic Acid Capsules is formulated with a combination of B vitamins that are crucial for maintain healthy homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a byproduct of protein metabolism that can damage connective tissues and contribute to oxidative stress. Genetic factors, poor nutrition and high-protein diets can result in elevated homocysteine levels. However, supplementation with Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and folate can balance homocysteine metabolism. BioTech B6 Folic Acid Capsules is formulated with the active forms of these nutrients, providing support for nervous system, bone, and cardiovascular health.
A bottle of BioTech B6 Folic Acid Capsules contains 100 capsules, with each capsule providing 5 mg folic acid.
- Windmill Folic Acid Supplements
Windmill Folic Acid Supplements is a dietary supplement made from natural products that are rich in B vitamin compounds among other important minerals. This folic acid supplement provides you with 800 mcg of folic acid per tablet. It helps control homocysteine levels, supports brain health, promotes nervous system function, and benefits overall health. No yeast, soy, wheat, cholesterol, sugar, artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors. All Windmill supplements are manufactured in the United States in an FDA-inspected facility whose GMPs are independently verified by qualified certification organizations.
A bottle of Windmill Folic Acid Supplements contains 100 tablets, with each tablet providing 800 mcg folic acid.
- Spring Valley Folic Acid Tablets
Spring Valley Folic Acid Tablets are a dietary supplement specially formulated for women’s health. Folic acid is a crucial nutrient that supports energy metabolism, as well as nervous system and heart health. These tablets are free from wheat, milk and milk derivatives, gluten, yeast, sugar, lactose, artificial colors, preservatives, soy, and artificial flavors. It contains less than 5 mg of sodium per serving. Spring Valley Folic Acid Tablets are produced with strict quality guidelines and are backed by a quality guarantee, making them a smart choice for your dietary supplement needs.
A bottle of Spring Valley Folic Acid Tablets contains 250 tablets, with each tablet providing 400 mcg of folic acid.
What You Should Look for When Buying Vitamins with Folic Acid
When looking for folic acid vitamins, look for ‘NSF’ or ‘USP’ on the label. These ‘seals of approval’ mean that the pills are made properly and have the amounts of vitamins it says on the label. Also, make sure that the pills have not expired.
Vitamin Label. Check the ‘Supplement Facts’ label to ensure that you are getting 400 – 800 micrograms of folic acid.
Folic Acid Vitamins: Risks and Precautions
Unless your doctor prescribes it, your daily supplement intake should not include more than 1,000 mcg of folic acid.
Taking large doses of folic acid may cover up a Vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause irreversible damage if it is not caught early. There is also some concern that high doses of folic acid may actually harm DNA synthesis in sperm.
Folic acid may interact with other medications. For instance, folic acid may reduce the efficacy of some anti-seizure drugs (i.e. phenytoin). Also, some fertility blends contain herbs that can interact with fertility drugs. So, make sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any supplementation.
Folic acid is an important vitamin for both women and men. Getting enough folic acid is particularly important for pregnant women, as it can help decrease the risk of birth defects.
If you are looking for folic acid vitamins brands in the Philippines, some of our recommendations include Puritan’s Pride Premium Folic Acid Supplement, Nature’s Blend Folic Acid Supplement, BioTech B6 Folic Acid Capsules, Windmill Folic Acid Supplements, and Spring Valley Folic Acid Tablets.
Always consult your doctor before taking any vitamins, and make sure to inform them about any herbs, vitamins, or other supplements you are taking.
Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All information contained on this web site is for general information purposes only.