Importance of Folic Acid in Diet

Nutrition plays an important role in body physiology. What we eat is what we are. Our dietary choices dictate our health nowadays. Lack of proper elements in food can lead to disastrous consequences. The body, lacking essential elements manifests its deficiencies in different ways. This is especially true for mothers or mothers-to –be. The slightest mistake in nutrition at this stage can have far reaching effects on the mother and the child‘s health.

Folic acid is the supplemental form of the B complex vitamin Folate. This is very important as it helps in the creation of red blood cells. It plays a role in DNA synthesis and protein metabolism. This is present in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and whole grains. The recommended folate intake for pregnant women is 400 mg a day, the reason of how and why folic acid prevents birth defects are not very clear. It is conjectured that the insulin-like growth factor 2 gene is differentially methylated and these changes in result in improved intrauterine growth and development.

Folate is essential for pregnant women and even those who are looking to extend their families. Lack of this element has far reaching consequences like he occurrence of births with Spinal Bifida. This defect happens very early in pregnancy .It usually occurs within the first month itself when most women do not even know that they are expecting. It is thus advised for people who are seeking an addition to the family and this can be prevented.

Folate is necessary to make normal red and white blood cells Lack of these blood cells can cause anemia, fatigue, inability to concentrate and weakness. Deficiency of folate in the diet can put the person at a risk of having children with NTD (Neural Tube Defects).Folate is specially needed during periods of rapid cell division and growth like infancy and pregnancy.The supplemental need of Folate arises during pregnancy as the folate in the blood level falls due to increased red blood cell synthesis in the first half of preganancy. The fetal demands of the vitamin in the second half also make its intake essential. Folate reduces the risk of having children with congenital heart defects and cleft lips .Defects of the limbs and urinary tract anomalies can also be traced to the lack of the vitamin intake.

Folate deficiency during the pregnancy increases the child’s chances of having fetal growth retardation and low birth weight .Problems in delivery can also result in the exclusion of this element in the diet. Complications like placental abruption and preeclampsia can arise Folate is shown to even reduce chromosomal defects .It can safeguard the fetal health when the mother is on medication or even when harmful activities like smoking can threaten the child’s health. It shows a positive effect in the retardation of stroke incidence in children whose mothers had had folate during their term.

Nutritional choices can make or mar the child’s future. To be the best nurturer, a healthy life style should be adopted .The child receives life from the parents .Let the nurturing start by giving them a healthy body and mind…

This entry was posted in Diet