Folic Acid

Folic acid is the man-made form of folate, also known as vitamin B9. Read More See less

Naturally found in certain fruits and vegetables, folic acid helps to make healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body. It is also essential in early pregnancy, with pregnant women or those trying to conceive recommended to take 400 micrograms of the vitamin every day until they’re 12 weeks pregnant.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are good sources of folic acid?

Folic acid is the man-made form of the B vitamin folate, sometimes referred to as vitamin B9 or folacin.

 

Folate is found in small amounts in lots of foods including broccoli, brussels sprouts, leafy green vegetables, peas, chickpeas, kidney beans and fortified breakfast cereals.

 

If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, you should take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement every day until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

Why do pregnant women need to take folic acid?

If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, the NHS recommends that you should take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement every day until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

 

This is because folic acid helps to form the neural tube and low levels of the vitamin could lead to major birth defects of your baby’s brain.

 

It is best to start taking folic acid before you’re pregnant, as birth defects can occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy, so make sure you’re getting your daily dose whilst trying to conceive.

What does folic acid do for men?

The benefits of folic acid for women are well known, but little is known about its effects on men.

 

It’s uncommon for men to have a deficiency in folic acid, but taking it as a supplement may present several benefits.

 

Folic acid may encourage hair growth by playing a role in the growth of cells, in addition to improving fertility and heart health, as well as helping with depression.

During which stage of pregnancy should I take folic acid?

The NHS advises that you should take 400mcg of folic acid during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.

 

If you’re planning to become pregnant, you should take these folic acid supplements before your pregnancy too.

 

If you didn’t take folic acid before your pregnancy, you should start to take it as soon as you discover you’re pregnant.

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