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Most women that are trying to conceive or are already pregnant will probably have heard of a supplement called folic acid but many people do not fully understand its importance, relevance or the possible side effects that come with taking it as a supplement.

What is Folic Acid?

It is a B vitamin that is water soluble. It is used for cell development and correct reproduction. When folic acid occurs naturally it is known as folate. The folic acid supplement can also be called vitamin B9 or even folacin. There are two types of water-soluble vitamin B9, they are pteroyl-L-glutamic acid and pteroyl-L-glutamate. The body requires folate so it is able to synthesis and mend the DNA, assist with protein metabolism and helps with the proper functioning of the brain. The production of the red blood cells needs folic acid to do the job correctly. If the body does not receive the right amount of folic acid you may notice symptoms such as fatigue, loss of memory, issues when concentrating, glossitis, diarrhea, headaches, loss of appetite, and weight loss. A shortage of folic acid can also cause anemia. Folic acid supplements are used for pregnant women to lend a hand to avoid birth defects in newborns.

Folic Acid Supplement Dosage Recommendations

Women that are not pregnant should take a daily dose of four hundred micrograms whereas a pregnant woman should have a daily dosage of folic acid of six hundred to eight hundred micrograms. Males can have at least four hundred micrograms each day. Children are placed into age groups for calculation of their daily amounts.

For children that are above fourteen years old, their daily recommendation is between one hundred and fifty to three hundred micrograms. Children that are between nine and thirteen years old can have three hundred micrograms per day. If a child is between four and eight years old they can have two hundred per day. Infants that are between one and three years old can have one hundred and fifty micrograms each day and infants that are seven to twelve months can have only eighty micrograms per day. For infants under six months they should only have sixty five micrograms per day and woman that are breast feeding their children can have five hundred micrograms per day.

Folic Acid Supplement Benefits

For the prevention of birth defects especially neural tube defects, folic acid is highly recommended prior to conception of a baby. Folic acid is also known for its ability to relax the blood vessels which lower high blood pressure thus avoiding a stroke. Folic acid can also help a person to retain their memory as well as preventing cancer of the breast tissue and the pancreas. If the folic acid supplement is taken in combination with some of the other B vitamins it can assist in reducing depression.

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