Folic Acid – 101

Recently my best friend got pregnant and she got prescription to intake folic acid tablets. She got confused because usually women are required to intake iron more due to their tendency to be anemic. It is estimated that more than 40% of pregnant women worldwide are anaemic. At least half of this anaemia burden is assumed to be due to iron deficiency.

The important point to note is ANEMIA isn’t always caused by a lack of iron. Not getting enough folate (folic acid) can harm your health, too.

Hence, I explained her as a medication, folic acid is used to treat folic acid deficiency and certain types of anemia (lack of red blood cells) caused by folic acid deficiency.

What is folic acid?

Folic acid (folate) is a type of vitamin B. Iron and vitamin B help your body produce and maintain healthy red blood cells.

A synthetic version of the vitamin, known as folic acid, is often added to fortified cereals and vitamins. You can also find folic acid supplements. The human body absorbs folic acid more easily than it does natural folate, but you can get all the folate you need from your diet.

How does folic acid work?

Folic acid helps make healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. If we do not have enough folic acid, the body can make abnormally large red blood cells that do not work properly. This causes folate deficiency anaemia, which can cause tiredness and other symptoms.

Instead of depending on folic acid supplements, try and eat food rich in folate.

Good sources of folate

  • Broccoli.
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Leafy green vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, spring greens and spinach.
  • Peas.
  • Chickpeas and Kidney beans.
  • Breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid


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