Sources of Folic Acid

There are two main sources of folic acid:

  • Food
  • Vitamin Supplements

Folate and folic acid are different terms for the same B vitamin. Folate is found naturally in foods and folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin found in multivitamins and supplements.

The body does not use the natural form of folic acid (folate) as easily as the synthetic form. We cannot be sure that eating foods containing folate would have the same benefits as consuming folic acid in a multivitamin. Also, even if you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, you might not get all the nutrients you need every day from food alone. Even women who eat foods enriched with folic acid are still not getting all that they need. That’s why it’s important for all women of childbearing age to take a multivitamin containing a minimum of 0.4 mg of folic acid. High-risk women need to take even more folic acid every day.

 

Find out if you are getting enough folic acid

Vita Track Folate Tracker helps women measure folic acid intake
 

If you are a woman of childbearing age, you need to understand how folic acid can affect the life of your baby. Whether you are planning to have a baby now or not, this is important information.

You may already know that folic acid is essential for a baby’s development. But did you also know that for women who could become pregnant, doctors and Health Canada recommend taking 0.4 mg of folic acid in a daily multivitamin in addition to folate in food? Maintaining an adequate intake at least 3 months prior to conception can reduce the risk of serious birth defects like spina bifida by as much as 70%!

If you think you are eating a healthy diet and don’t need to supplement, here is a great way to measure your folate from the food you eat daily or weekly.

The VitaTrack Folate Tracker has been designed to ensure you get the minimum recommended amount of folic acid/folate everyday. And the great part about it…it’s free! If you have a smartphone (i.e. iPhone, Blackberry, iPad, iPod Touch, etc.) you can download the app for the VitaTrack Folate Tracker from iTunes. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vitatrack/id364355699?mt=8#

Simply enter the food you eat at each meal by selecting the menu items and the portion size. Easy to read graphs tell you if you are meeting the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for folic acid and you can also email weekly reports to your doctor.

If you find you are not getting the RDA for folic acid, start taking a multivitamin now. It’s easy, good for you, and, should you become pregnant, you will know that you have sufficient stores of folic acid to help protect your baby from serious birth defects.