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4 things you should know about folate (folic acid) when you want to become pregnant

Are you planning a pregnancy? Then most probably you've heard that you should eat folic acid. We know that food supplements can be a bit of a jungle – what to eat, how much and for how long? Folic acid is an important vitamin, especially when we talk about pregnancy. That’s why we would like to elaborate on 4 things that are important to know about folic acid when planning a pregnancy.


1. Folic acid is important even before you are pregnant

Let’s start by emphasizing that folic acid is an important vitamin when you are planning a pregnancy, both before the pregnancy but also during the 1st trimester of pregnancy. Folic acid is a B-vitamin, B9 to be more precise, which contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy and plays an important role in the normal closure of the fetal neural tube.

Supplementary intake of folic acid increases the folate status of the mother.  A low folate status is considered a risk factor for the development of neural tube defects in the growing fetus. Since the neural tube closes early in pregnancy, within the first 22-29 days after fertilization, it is important to consider taking a food supplement containing folic acid from the moment you are planning a pregnancy.

The Danish National Board of Health together with other European Health Authorities, recommend a daily food supplement of 400 µg of folate up to the desired pregnancy and throughout the 1st trimester of pregnancy. That’s why we also say that you should start with La Roar’s food supplements "as soon as the sweet thought shows up". In addition to supporting your baby, folic acid is also important for you, as it contributes to normal blood formation and has a role in the process of cell division.

2. Folic acid, folacin, folate …Know the difference

Folic acid is not just folic acid. Folic acid is the general term for vitamin B9, but did you know there are different forms of it? Let us explain. Typically, one distinguishes between two different forms of folic acid: folic acid, which is the synthetic form and folate, which is the natural form.

At La Roar, we are big advocates for folate and in our food supplements we use the natural folate source, (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolate. This is the active form of folate, which unlike folic acid, does not need to undergo enzymatic conversion. Therefore, it can be directly absorbed by the body. 

However, we would like to make a clarification: both folate and folic acid have the same health claim and contribute to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy. You can read more about our folate source here.

3. It can be difficult to get enough folic acid through diet alone

It can be difficult to achieve adequate levels of folic acid when preparing your body for pregnancy. Folic acid is formed in plants and microorganisms and since we cannot form the vitamin ourselves, we must get it through the diet. You can find folic acid in spinach, broccoli, eggs, legumes, brown beans, bread and oats. Other sources are berries (eg strawberries and raspberries) and fruits (eg mangoes and papayas).

The Danish National Board of Health recommends taking a folic acid food supplement in addition to your diet, as the recommended dose for pregnant women is significantly greater than the amount of folic acid you can typically get through diet. 

4.The excess amount is excreted quite rapidly through urine

Folic acid belongs to the B-vitamin group, which consist of 8 different vitamins. Folic acid, like the other B vitamins, is absorbed in the small intestine and is a water-soluble vitamin. The excess is excreted through urine and this means that there is a very reduced risk of getting an overdose of folic acid. Therefore, you do not need to worry about starting folic acid supplementation too early.

You can read more about La Roar’s products and their ingredients here. You are always welcome to write to us if you have any questions.


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On our blog we share knowledge, opinions and general enthusiasm about what it means to live a healthy life. We hope you enjoy reading our posts as much as we enjoy writing them.

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