The previous article introduced why it’s very important to take folic acid before pregnancy. To lower the risk of birth defects, folic acid is key. However, many women may not know how to take enough folic acid.
This article will help you identify the kind of foods that you should take and the most efficient way to eat them so you can get your dose of folic acid.
1. Absorption rate of folic acid from food is only 50%
You may try to take folic acid from foods as much as you can. However, the absorption rate of folic acid from foods is only 50%. And this is divided into two types: “polyglutamic acid type” called natural folic acid and “monoglutamic acid type” called synthetic folic acid.
Most of the folic acid contained in the food is polyglutamic acid type, but it has been considered that the polyglutamic acid type loses about 50% of the folic acid by heating or stomach acid. So if you are trying to get folic acid from food sources only, you’ll have to eat a lot.
So if you try to take of folic acid only from food, the folic acid dosage that you’ll get is only 240μg.
Polyglutamic acid type (Natural folic acid)
Polyglutamic acid is a natural folic acid contained in food. It is easy to be decomposed by heat, and there is a difference depending on the food, but the absorption rate to the body is said to be about 50%. It changes to monoglutamic acid during digestion in the body.
Therefore, its the polyglutamic acid type that leaves you with only 50% of the total intake. If you take 800μg, you’ll only get 400μg. As with spinach for example, you’ll have to eat about 13 bunches of spinach to meet the daily requirement of folic acid. So, it’s not easy at all to take enough folic acid during pregnancy. Also, there is a risk that you might forget to take other necessary nutrients while you focus on folic acid.
Monoglutamic acid type (Synthetic folate)
Monoglutamic acid is a type of folic acid with one bound glutamate, which is mainly contained in supplements. The absorption rate in the body is high, and the recommended intake of folic acid announced by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan is set at this amount of monoglutamic acid type.
2. Foods that contain folic acid
If you are pregnant, try to eat these food sources of folic acid.
3. Things you need to know when you take folic acid
Don’t overdose on vitamin A. Foods rich in folic acid, especially chicken and pig liver, are also rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A is an important vitamin involved in vision, hearing, protein synthesis, etc. However, excessive intake of vitamin A during pregnancy, can interfere with the baby’s healthy growth. Therefore, don’t take too much vitamin A during or prior to pregnancy.
Keep a balanced diet in mind
Folic acid is not the only nutrient that you need when pregnant. It is important to have a balanced intake of all nutrients, such as protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals. Instead of taking only folic acid-rich foods, make sure to have a balanced diet to protect you and your baby’s health.
If you are on fertility treatment or pregnant, keep a balanced diet in order to take a sufficient amount of folic acid. However, now that you know that it’s not easy to get enough folic acid from food sources only, consider taking it from supplements as well. It’s a convenient and more efficient way of meeting your daily dose of folic acid.
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