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Bioconcepts Folic Acid: Folic Acid is essential during pregnancy to ensure proper growth of the foetus
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is the term used for the synthetic form of Folate (vitamin B9). Folic Acid is available as a supplement, where as folate is naturally found in foods -- but the terms Folic Acid & Folate are used interchangeably.
Folic Acid is a B-Vitamin, B-9. Vitamin B-9 is a water-soluble vitamin so gets cleared from your system on a regular basis. As the body cannot store much of it, it is a regular dietary requirement.
Food sources of folate include fortified breakfasts, enriched rice and breads, fruit and green leafy vegetables. The body absorbs 100 % of folic acid, but only two-thirds of folate from food.
Together with the other B vitamins, Folic Acid helps the body to break down and convert the food that we eat into energy.
Why take Folic Acid?
Folic acid is required by the body to make and maintain cells. It helps to make DNA as well as red blood cells and amino acids. Without folic acid, no cell division can occur, which creates conditions for disease. When the body tries to make red blood cells without folic acid, the blood cells are unable to mature, so they become very large and unusable.
As Folic acid is required by the body to make and maintain cells, to help make DNA and red blood cells, it is for this reason that adequate folic acid intake is essential during pregnancy to ensure proper growth of the foetus.
Folic acid protects newborns from birth defects when it is taken by the mother. Without it, severe birth defects could resultHealthy sperm is also dependent on adequate folic acid intake, so it is extremely important, to help prevent birth defects, that both expectant mothers and fathers have an adequate daily intake of folic acid.
Take Folic Acid if you want to:
How does Folic Acid work? The science behind the secret...
Folic acid is a vital vitamin in creating DNA. There are four nucleotide bases that make up DNA. Folic acid makes sure that there is enough of one of these bases, 'thymidylate'. Without thymidylate, DNA cannot replicate so cells cannot divide, hence the result of birth defects in newborns.
Folic acid also helps to make red blood cells and works with vitamin B-12 and vitamin C to break down, use and create proteins in the body. Folic Acid essentially helps cells to work and grow.
Is it right for me?
The Department of Health suggests adults require 0.2mg (200mcg) of folate a day and recommends that all women planning a pregnancy, and those during the first 3 months of pregnancy, take a supplement of 0.4mg (400mcg) of Folic Acid daily. Folic Acid may reduce the risk of birth defects.
Folic Acid has a protective effect upon unborn babies: Britain's Medical Research Council 'Prevention of neural tube defects: results of the Medical Research Council Vitamin Study. MRC Vitamin Study Research Group' The Lancet, 1991.
A randomised double-blind prevention trial with a factorial design was conducted at 33 centres in seven countries to determine whether supplementation with folic acid (one of the vitamins in the B group) or a mixture of seven other vitamins (A,D,B1,B2,B6,C and nicotinamide) around the time of conception can prevent neural tube defects (anencephaly, spina bifida, encephalocele).
A total of 1817 women at high risk of having a pregnancy with a neural tube defect, because of a previous affected pregnancy, were allocated at random to one of four groups--namely, folic acid, other vitamins, both, or neither.
1195 had a completed pregnancy in which the foetus or infant was known to have or not have a neural tube defect; 27 of these had a known neural tube defect, 6 in the folic acid groups and 21 in the two other groups, a 72% protective effect (relative risk 0.28, 95% confidence interval 0.12-0.71). The other vitamins showed no significant protective effect (relative risk 0.80, 95% Cl 0.32-1.72). There was no demonstrable harm from the folic acid supplementation, though the ability of the study to detect rare or slight adverse effects was limited.
Folic acid supplementation starting before pregnancy can now be firmly recommended for all women who have had an affected pregnancy, and public health measures should be taken to ensure that the diet of all women who may bear children contains an adequate amount of folic acid.
New England Journal of Medicine, 'Prevention of the first occurrence of neural-tube defects by periconceptional vitamin supplementation', Czeizel AE, Dudás I, 1992.
Background: The risk of recurrent neural-tube defects is decreased in women who take folic acid or multivitamins containing such during the periconceptional period. The extent to which folic acid supplementation can reduce the first occurrence of defects is not known.
Methods: We conducted a randomized, controlled trial of periconceptional multivitamin supplementation to test the efficacy of this treatment in reducing the incidence of a first occurrence of neural-tube defects. Women planning a pregnancy (in most cases their first) were randomly assigned to receive a single tablet of a vitamin supplement (containing 12 vitamins, including 0.8 mg of folic acid; 4 minerals; and 3 trace elements) or a trace-element supplement (containing copper, manganese, zinc, and a very low dose of vitamin C) daily for at least one month before conception and until the date of the second missed menstrual period or later.
Results: Pregnancy was confirmed in 4753 women. The outcome of the pregnancy (whether the foetus or infant had a neural-tube defect or congenital malformation) was known in 2104 women who received the vitamin supplement and in 2052 who received the trace-element supplement.
Congenital malformations were significantly more prevalent in the group receiving the trace-element supplement than in the vitamin-supplement group. There were six cases of neural-tube defects in the group receiving the trace-element supplement, as compared with none in the vitamin-supplement group. The prevalence of cleft lip with or without cleft palate was not reduced by periconceptional vitamin supplementation.
Conclusions: Periconceptional vitamin use decreases the incidence of a first occurrence of neural-tube defects.The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) States: Nutrition experts at the Harvard School of Public Health have created an online version of a food pyramid with a notation recommending a "daily multivitamin plus extra vitamin D (for most people)."
Recognizing the special nutritional needs of senior citizens, researchers at Tufts University designed a food guide pyramid for the elderly, which features a flag at the top as a reminder that supplements of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12 may be needed for optimal health. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) has a policy statement emphasizing the importance of good food choices but also recognizing that supplements can help some people meet their nutritional needs.
Supplement use should be seen as one component of the search for a healthier lifestyle, including improvements in overall food habits and engaging in physical exercise.
A generous intake of calcium plus vitamin D demonstrably helps build optimum bone mass during childhood and adolescence and also slows the rate of bone loss that naturally occurs with ageing.
Nutritional supplements are helpful in addressing a woman's increased nutrient needs during pregnancy. Prenatal multivitamins with minerals are commonly prescribed to ensure that both the baby's and the mother's needs are met. In addition to meeting normal nutritional needs during pregnancy, a multivitamin can also play a critical role in protecting against some birth defects. An abundance of data shows that women who get 400 mcg of supplemental folic acid per day for one to three months prior to conception and one to three months after conception can substantially lower the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida.
While adequate nutrient intake is critical for all age groups, it may have particular significance for the elderly. Calcium and vitamin D supplements, as previously noted, can have a powerful impact on bone health, and the Surgeon General says it is never too late to benefit from improved intakes of these nutrients. Vitamin D may also reduce the incidence of falls in older people. Vitamin and mineral supplements have been shown in some studies to improve immune function in the elderly.
Low zinc intakes are associated with an increased risk of infections, including pneumonia. Supplemental intakes of vitamin E have had a positive effect in decreasing upper respiratory infections in some studies. For these reasons, it makes sense to encourage the elderly to use multivitamin and mineral supplements.
The bottom line is that a healthy lifestyle must include a focus on dietary improvement. Generous intakes of the essential nutrients will support the normal functioning of the body and enhance health in a myriad of ways. The rational use of nutritional supplements, combined with a healthy diet, will contribute substantially to health promotion and disease prevention.
Daily Mail | Health Article
All women urged to take folic acid pills ‘just in case’ dose protects unplanned babies being born with spina bifida
All women of childbearing age should take folic acid supplements to prevent any children they have being born with spina bifida, experts have warned. The advice comes after a rise in the number of cases of the disability.
Most women will take the supplements once they realise they are pregnant, but this can often be too late. Spina bifida causes vertebrae in the backbone to form incorrectly, often leading to lower-body paralysis and other damage to the nervous system. Victims can suffer lifelong bowel and bladder problems, and some children have brain damage.
Research suggests that 75 per cent of cases could be prevented by the mother taking folic acid three months before conception and during pregnancy.
The advice to take the vitamin 'just in case' - directed at all sexually active women of childbearing age - comes from experts in Scotland. It has emerged that twice the number of babies with spina bifida have been born there this year than usual.
Each Folic Acid 400mcg capsule contains: Folic Acid 400mcg,Dicalcium Phosphate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Stearic Acid, Magnesium Stearate, Silicon Dioxide (Anti-Caking Agent). Free from Salt, Starch, Wheat, Maize, Gluten, Lactose, Yeast, Dairy products, Artificial Preservatives Dyes or Colours.
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