South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS)
National Folic Acid Awareness Week
Folic acid is a B vitamin typically suggested to help prevent certain birth defects, but it also has other uses that we could all benefit from. Among other things, folic acid is a necessary component of new cell development. It has also been shown beneficial in the treatment of anemia, ulcerative colitis, liver disease and those receiving kidney dialysis.
Folic acid is found in nature in leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli and in other vegetables and fruits (okra, asparagus, bananas, melons and lemons). Since 1998, federal law required that folic acid be added to many grain products like cold cereal, bread, pasta, cookies and crackers.
If you are thinking about getting pregnant, you should start taking folic acid supplements at least one month before getting pregnant, and continue to take it during pregnancy. The recommended dosage is 400 micrograms every day. Even if you are thinking about pregnancy or not, every person needs folic acid every day for the healthy, new cells the body makes daily, like hair, nails and skin in addition to many others. These-and other parts of the body - make new cells each day.
So, remember what you were told as a kid - eat your fruits and veggies every day so you can grow up big and strong!