Folic acid is a synthetically produced B-vitamin that the body converts to folate. Folate needs the human body for cell division, it is otherwise only absorbed through food. The intake of folic acid is therefore recommended, but not every woman can fully utilize folic acid.

A good supply of folate is especially important for pregnant women. The vitamin is mainly involved in the division and new formation of cells. Therefore, the recommended intake increases by 83 percent during pregnancy. In addition to a well-balanced diet rich in folates, the Network Healthy in Life, an IN FORM Initiative of the Federal Ministry of Nutrition, recommends taking 400 mg of folic acid (synthetically produced form of the vitamin) at least until the end of the third month of pregnancy. Folic acid should be taken daily if you want to have children to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. It depends on both: a balanced diet with folate-rich foods, such as vegetables, legumes and whole grains, as well as an additional intake of folic acid as a supplement in the first few months. The addition of folic acid supplements the folate intake with natural foods. It does not replace it.

Need for folate increased during pregnancy
The naturally occurring compounds of the water-soluble vitamin are called folates. The synthetic form found in preparations and in fortified foods is called folic acid. The vitamin is important for growth, blood formation and nerve tissue and thus for a healthy development of the fetus]. From the first day of pregnancy, the reference value for folate intake increases from 300 mg to 550 mg per day .The mean folate intake of women IS significantly lower at 184 mg per day. Many women go with it poorly cared for the pregnancy.

Prevent neural tube defects early
Folate or folic acid plays an important role in the prevention of congenital malformations, especially neural tube defects. The neural tube from which the central nervous system develops during embryonic development usually closes three to four weeks after conception. At this point, many women do not yet know that they are pregnant. It is therefore important to optimize folate and folic acid intake before pregnancy. At least 50 percent of neural tube defects would be avoidable.

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