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Vitamin B9, protector of pregnancy

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Also called folic acid or folate and present in natural or enriched foods, it is an essential nutrient during pregnancy.

The terms folate and folic acid are often used interchangeably to designate a B vitamin, vitamin B9, which is very beneficial for pregnancy and pregnancy.

The first substance is found naturally in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and beans, while the second is a synthetic folate, present in supplements and added to fortified foods, reports the United States National Library of Medicine (MedlinePlus).

Vitamin B9, an essential component of prenatal vitamins, is an essential nutrient during early pregnancy to reduce the risk of the baby suffering from birth defects, according to the Mayo Clinic (Minnesota, USA).

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that birth defects of the brain and spine (spina bifida and anencephaly) occur during the first weeks of pregnancy; frequently, before the woman knows she is pregnant.

“By the time you realize you are pregnant, it may be too late to prevent these birth defects. Furthermore, a high percentage of pregnancies, about half in the United States, are unplanned,” they add.

Folic acid and folate

For these reasons, “it is important for all women who may become pregnant to be sure to take folic acid every day, even if they have no plans to become pregnant in the near future,” according to the CDC.

According to this source, the body does not use folate as easily as it uses folic acid, and it is also difficult to eat foods high in this vitamin daily, in sufficient quantities to help prevent tube defects. neural.

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For this reason, “women who can become pregnant should consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid, in addition to eating a variety of foods rich in natural folate,” they advise.

Folic acid is a common component of multivitamin supplements in the form of liquid or swallowable or chewable tablets, and fortified breakfast cereals, some of which can cover the daily requirement of this vitamin, with a single serving, depending on the CDC.

Adequately taking vitamin B9 during pregnancy

To remember to take the vitamin, they suggest taking it every day at the same time, for example when having breakfast, getting out of the shower or brushing your hair, so that you have the vitamin bottle within sight in the bathroom or kitchen, according to this same source.

For this organism, a woman who can become pregnant (whether she plans to or not) needs only 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid per day, in addition to eating foods rich in folate, although her doctor may recommend that she take a higher dose. high, in certain cases, for example if you have previously had a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect, according to the CDC.

For its part, the Mayo Clinic considers that adult women who are planning a pregnancy or could become pregnant “should be advised to take 400 to 1,000 mcg of folic acid per day.”

The maximum recommended amount of folic acid during pregnancy or breastfeeding is 1,000 mcg per day for those over 18 years of age, according to MedlinePlus.

Some research suggests that taking folic acid in much higher doses, around 1 milligram (mg), per day may increase the risk of cancer or heart attack in people with a history of these diseases.

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A microgram is equivalent to one millionth of a gram, while a milligram is one thousandth of a gram.

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