Folic Acid, or Vitamin B9, is an activator – it plays a very important role in the proper production and reproduction of DNA. Most women know, or are aware, of the importance of Folic Acid if they are pregnant and yet still, about 260 babies are born each year in Canada with neural tube defects – a result of insufficient Folic Acid; especially pre and beginning pregnancy. This can be changed very easily.
Studies have found increased folate levels from one month prior to conception to 3 months afterward can reduce the chance of these defects by 50%!
There are many other great health benefits of ensuring you are ingesting adequate levels of Folic Acid everyday:
- Not only does Folic Acid help create a healthy, whole baby, it also helps to ensure pregnancy happens by strengthening sperm motility and correct chromosomal health. Ensuring adequate levels is just as important for the man as it is for the woman if they are trying to conceive.
- Folic Acid is amazing for your heart! It helps to convert homocysteine into methionine. Elevated levels of homocysteine has been linked to heart disease and cardiovascular issues like stroke, etc. Folic Acid protects blood vessels and protects against blood clotting.
- Folic Acid helps protect against high cholesterol, again by helping to break down homocysteine. A mere .4 mg a day has been proven to reduce cholesterol.
- Protect your brain (neural pathways) with Folic Acid! Patients with dementia have high levels of homocysteine and low levels of Folic Acid.
- Folic Acid helps pregnancy blues – it creates and absorbs neurotransmitters. There’s that “neuro” word again!
- Decrease your risk of colon cancer with Folic Acid! It is said that your stomach is your second brain. It is also proven that adequate levels of Folic Acid can protect you from cancer of the colon by activating the right genes for prevention. There’s that “activation” word again.
- Finally, and I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list as we are always learning more, Folic Acid protects your eyes. Studies show that those who have adequate levels of B vitamins have a much reduced risk of eye disease including macular degeneration.
As a Nutritionist who believes that food is your first building block for health and first defence against disease, I’d like to share the best foods with high levels of Folic Acid. Include these (a couple) of them in your diet everyday and protect yourself and any future babies.
To your health and happiness,
Angela, CNC, BMgt