There is so much stress placed on the necessity of folic acid. Especially when it comes to before, during and after pregnancy. Folic acid also known as vitamin B9 or commonly referred to as folate. 

Folic acid is essential for many numerous bodily functions. It is required to synthesize, repair and methylate DNA (a key in normal development).  B9 is important in aiding rapid cell division and growth, such as infancy and pregnancy.  It is used to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia.

Prior to pregnancy, folic acid plays an important role in fertility. In men folate contributes to sperm development. For woman it plays a much bigger role. It is a contributor to egg cell creation, implantation and even the formation, type and the arrangement of the placenta.

Most common results of low folic acid are neural tube defects.  Which are an opening in the spinal cord or brain that occurs in early human development. Sufficient folate intake is imperative during preconception. It helps protect against neural tube defects, which result in spina bifida (some vertebrae overlying the spinal cord are not fully formed and remain open) or anencephaly (absence of a major portion of the brain, skull and scalp), the risks are greatly reduced when accompanied with a healthy diet prior to the first month of conception.

Keep an eye on the following symptoms for a folic acid deficiency, diarrhea, anemia, weakness or shortage of breath, weakness or limb numbness, mental confusion, forgetfulness or mental depression, headaches, irritability, and behavioral disorders. It could lead to cancer due to the inability to repair DNA. Folic acid deficiency usually takes around four months to show signs. A healthy body has a certain amount stored in reserve.

There is no shortage of sources for folic acid, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, beans, peas and lentils, egg yolks, bakers yeast, grain products, orange juice, pineapple juice, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, grapefruit juice, raspberries, bananas and the list goes on. If the possibility lingers that your still not getting enough in your diet then there is always vitamin supplementation.  Make sure to have a good prenatal vitamin, which you're probably already taking.

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