Folic Acid is a B vitamin, vitamin B9 to be exact, that the body uses for cell re-growth.

Folic acid can be found naturally in higher amounts in dark leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, lentils, citrus, beef liver and some fortified breakfast cereals and pastas. Eating raw vegetables is always better as cooking them sometimes destroys the folic acid in the foods.

Sometimes the body has difficulty absorbing B9 from food alone, so it is a good idea to add a multi-vitamin supplement to your diet. The daily recommended amount of folic acid is 400 mcg a day. Yet, according to the CDC, many women need between 400 to 800 mcg or higher.

Some of the benefits of folic acid:

  • Maintains the adrenal, nervous, and metabolic systems.
  • Helps reduce the risk of cancer and memory decline.
  • Guards against anemia.
  • Maintaining proper levels will reduce the risk of depression.
  • Helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida or cleft palate in pregnant women.
  • Women who could get pregnant should take a daily supplement and women who are pregnant should get at least 800 to 1000 mcg a day.

In some instances, the folic acid doses can be raised even higher, such as when women are taking medication for seizures. There are few side effects from taking too much folic acid. However, the effectiveness of folic acid can be reduced when taken with large amounts of food, excessive alcohol, antacids, antibiotics or oral contraception.

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