Why Is Folate So Important During Pregnancy?
Folate is often recommended to women during pregnancy. Kerry Locatelli, BNat explores why folate is so important during pregnancy.
What is folate?
Folate is part of the B vitamin family and is often referred to as vitamin B9. It is especially important during pregnancy as it plays a vital role in the healthy development of baby. It reduces the risk of birth abnormalities such as neural tube defects and congenital heart defects.
Why do we need folate?
We need Folate to make healthy red blood cells. It is seen to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancers, help with blood sugar control in diabetes and help with the treatment of depression.
How much folate?
Supplementation of 0.8mg per day should begin at least 1 month before you conceive and should continue for at least the first trimester
What’s the difference between Folate and folic acid?
Most people have heard of this vitamin being referred to as Folate as well as Folic Acid. Folate is the reduced, naturally occurring form and Folic Acid is the oxidized, synthetic, man-made form. While Folic acid is more stable than Folate, it needs to be metabolized and converted before it can be utilized within the body. Some people don’t metabolize folic acid very well and this unmetabolized folic acid has been associated with a number of health problems. This unmetabolized Folic acid continues to circulate in the bloodstream and competes with natural folate by binding with enzymes, carrier proteins and binding proteins. This interferes with the normal metabolism and regulatory functions of folate and can negatively impact health. It can also mask a vitamin B12 deficiency and has been associated with an increase in cancer risk. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to irreversible and serious neurological abnormalities.
Be wary of fortified food and multivitamins- they may contain folic acid not folate!
Can we increase our folate intake?
There are a number of ways we can get Folate into our bodies. Dark green leafy veggies, beetroot, sprouts, eggs and lentils are all great sources that can be included in the diet daily. Marmite is a good source, and marmite on toast first thing in the morning can really help with morning sickness too. Good Green Vitality is an excellent source of Folate. Have a look at this daily immunity smoothie with Good Green Vitality and Clean Lean Protein, it is just overflowing with nutrients.
The information provided in this article is intended for educational purposes only and is general advice. It should not, nor is it intended to be, relied on as a substitute for individual medical advice or care. If the contents of this, or any other of the blogs in this series raises any concerns or questions regarding your health, please consult a qualified healthcare practitioner.