3 reasons you should be taking folic acid daily
19th Feb 2021
Our body needs folic acid to maintain healthy red blood cells, repair DNA and prevent foetal development disorders.
There are many nutrients our bodies need on a daily basis, most of which we get from keeping a healthy and varied diet. However, two exceptions to this are vitamin D (obtained by exposure to sunlight) and folic acid (recommended to take in supplements).
Folic acid is part of the vitamin B group and it cannot be stored in the body. According to the HSE, we need 0.4mg of folate per day or, if pregnant, up to 0.8mg per day, and while it can be absorbed from foods like green, leafy vegetables and wholegrains, research shows that women do not get enough folic acid from diet alone.
Folic acid helps vital processes in the body, aiding in the production of healthy red blood cells, helping synthesise and repair DNA and preventing feotal neural tube defects (NTDs) like Spina Bifida.
It is an essential vitamin for everyone, especially women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. Here are three reasons why you should take folic acid every day.
1. It can help prevent headaches and fatigue.
Folic acid helps the body create healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Without enough oxygen, you can develop temporary anemia and suffer from headaches, paleness, fatigue, light-headedness and shortness of breath*.
Taking the recommended amount of folic acid can ensure you have enough red blood cells and keep you feeling clear, energised and healthy.
2. It is one of the most important nutrients for women.
An essential vitamin for all women of child-bearing age, folate is especially important for unborn babies. It helps the nervous system develop and can prevent neural tube defects like Spina Bifida**.
In the very first weeks of pregnancy, the neural tube closes and fuses. Then, later on, it develops to become the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking extra folic acid as a supplement, even if you are not planning on getting pregnant, may reduce the chance of developing a NTD.
3. It can help improve quality of sleep and reduce stress and anxiety.
Every cell contains DNA and its strand of chromosomes, which are protected by sections called telomeres. Poor quality sleep and anxiety may cause shortened telomeres and damage the DNA it protects.
Research shows that those who take folic acid regularly can help maintain long telomere length***, leading to a better night’s sleep and reduced levels of stress.
The market leader in folic acid tablets in Ireland is Clonfolic, which are only available from your local pharmacy. Clonfolic comes in 28 (1 month) and 98 (3 months) calendar-pack sizes. The company recommends 0.4 mg of folic acid every day for at least 14 weeks before you become pregnant and continue taking it for at least the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Always read the label. Consult your doctor if you have a family or personal history of pregnancies resulting in neural tube defects, have diabetes, are obese, or take anti-epileptic (anti-seizure), or other medications. The tablet also includes lactose monohydrate. Keep out of sight and reach of children.