Are you looking for some new vitamins and supplements to add to your daily routine? Do you feel like you might be lacking something essential in your diet?
Many people think that folic acid is only beneficial for women, and specifically for women of childbearing age. This simply isn't true.
Folic acid has benefits for everyone, and anyone lacking a proper amount in their diet should consider supplementing with an external source.
If you're not convinced, read on to learn about the benefits of folic acid for men and women alike.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a type of B vitamin. It can be found in legumes, dark green vegetables, oranges, liver, beets, and whole wheat products. Many wheat products are also fortified with folic acid or folate because it's so important for the human body.
It can help the body produce cells and potentially prevent DNA changes that lead to cancer. This means that it's an important addition to any diet!
It can, naturally, treat folic acid deficiency and any anaemia that was caused by folic acid deficiency. It won't help other b vitamin deficiencies, however.
Benefits of Folic Acid for Women
The benefits of folic acid for women are widely known, especially women of childbearing age and women who are specifically attempting to get pregnant. Even women who aren't attempting to get pregnant are suggested to take folic acid just in case.
It's suggested that women of reproductive age who are able to get pregnant get 400mcg of folic acid per day.
Folic acid can help prevent some birth defects, and those birth defects are ones that can happen before a woman is even aware that she is pregnant. This can happen within the first two to four weeks of a pregnancy.
If a woman has already suffered a neural tube defect, it's best to have 4000 mcg of folic acid per day instead. This should extend from the month before attempting to get pregnant through the first three months of pregnancy.
What Are Neural Tube Defects?
Neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain or spinal cord. They include defects like spina bifida or anencephaly, which are both quite serious. They develop early on. The neural tube doesn't properly close.
This happens before the first natal visit to the doctor. It even happens often before a woman is even aware that she's pregnant. This is why it's so essential to be taking enough folic acid, even if pregnancy isn't on the radar.
Even if a pregnancy isn't being planned, 400 mcg of folate will not harm you and will prevent serious life-altering damage to a potential baby. While it's not guaranteed that it will protect against neural tube defects, it will lessen the chances.
While this may seem excessive, it could help protect the baby and the mother from problems down the line. Folic acid is essential in cell formulation and growth.
Benefits of Folic Acid for Men
Now, when we say “for men” we also mean “for everyone else too” in this case. Most people think that folic acid is only helpful for women of reproductive age, and this simply isn't true.
It's also harmful misinformation. Everyone could be reaping the benefits of folic acid with better education!
Folate helps you generate blood cells, use carbohydrates, and generate healthy DNA. These things all sound pretty important, right?
It also helps many of your body's essential processes, including cell division, detoxification, hormone regulation, mood stability, mental health, cell membrane health, and a host of other things.
It can treat several diseases, like celiac disease, anaemia, and kidney and liver diseases. It protects your heart and cardiovascular system, both crucial to your body's daily functions.
For men specifically, taking folic acid can potentially help increase sperm count (which makes sense, considering the cell growth that happens with the increase of folate).
In short, there are tons of benefits to taking folic acid even if you're a man or a woman who isn't of reproductive age. There is no reason not to supplement your diet with a small amount of folic acid every day.
Where Can You Find Folic Acid?
Many storebought wheat products are fortified with folic acid, generally to help supplement women.
Folic acid is heat-stable, which makes it ideal for cooking and baking. This means that it's easily added to common foods, often breads and cereals. It's also easily absorbed by the body, making it a great supplement to fortify food with.
You can also buy your own supplements specifically for folic acid. Sometimes they're in daily multivitamins or prenatal vitamins, but they will have a folic acid section that tells you just how much is available. This lets you adjust your folic acid intake to your needs.
This can be especially important if you are an expecting mother, or if you're trying for a pregnancy. It's best to supplement under the care of a physician. It is possible to take too much, so getting some extra guidance specified to your healthcare needs is crucial.
Are You Sold on Folic Acid?
There are plenty of benefits of folic acid for men and women, and as long as you're taking it responsibly, you could be reaping those benefits.
If you're a woman of childbearing age, it's best that you start taking it as soon as possible to prevent any future pregnancy complications. This is especially vital if you're in a stage of family planning.
Don't forget to consult with your physician if you plan on adding new supplements to your diet.
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