It's important to get plenty of folic acid
Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 12:32 a.m.
Research shows that consumption of folic acid before and during early pregnancy can lower the rate of a certain type of serious birth defect, called neural tube defects, by up to 70 percent. There also is evidence that folic acid may help reduce the risk of other birth defects as well as heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and conditions that affect cognitive function.
The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age get 400 micrograms of the B vitamin folic acid daily. The best way to get this amount is to take a multivitamin with folic acid or eat a serving of breakfast cereal that contains 100 percent of the daily value for folic acid every day while eating a healthy diet that includes food sources of this vitamin, such as orange juice, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, peanuts, and dried beans and peas.
The Florida Folic Acid Coalition, a member of the National Council on Folic Acid, is recognizing January as Birth Defects Prevention Month, and the week of January 8-14 as National Folic Acid Awareness Week. For more information about folic acid and National Folic Acid Awareness Week visit www.folicacidinfo.org or www.folicacidnow.net.
Gail C. Rampersaud,
Florida Folic Acid Coalition,
Food Science and Human
University of Florida
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