Folic Acid is an
important vitamin used by the body in red blood cells and in
many reactions throughout the body. It is present in
most fresh fruits and vegetables (especially citrus and
green leafy vegetables), and is commonly added to bread
products as a supplement.
Cooked fruits/vegetables lose most of their folic acid.
- Folic Acid is very important to the developing fetus. Insufficient folic acid can
cause neural tube defects, an extremely serious birth defect that causes problems with the spinal cord. It is important for all women attempting to become pregnant to take folic acid
supplementation. It is best to begin taking supplements 3 months before attempting pregnancy, but if already pregnant, begin immediately. Folic Acid is
contained in almost all pre-natal vitamins.
- Folic Acid is
important in converting the body enzyme homocystine to methionine. Homocystine is thought to increase the likelihood that cholesterol plaque will adhere to the walls of the arteries, leading to heart blockages and heart attacks. Many physicians now commonly check the homocystine blood level during exams. If it is elevated, your physician will recommend that folic acid
supplementation be taken to help decrease the homocystine level (by converting it to methionine). Theoretically, this should help decrease the risk of heart disease.