Unravelling Folate Deficiency: Risks and Solutions During Pregnancy

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Pregnancy demands a balanced and nutritious diet to foster the healthy development of the foetus. One vital nutrient is folate, essential for preventing neural tube defects.

Let's explores folate deficiency, its implications during pregnancy, and why folate supplements are a preferred choice over folic acid.

Understanding Folate Deficiency

Folate deficiency arises when the body's levels of folate, a form of Vitamin B9, are insufficient. This deficiency can lead to a host of health issues, including megaloblastic anaemia, where the bone marrow produces unusually large, immature red blood cells.

During pregnancy, inadequate folate levels are especially concerning as they increase the risk of neural tube defects and other developmental problems in the baby.

Why Folate is Vital During Pregnancy

Folate plays a crucial role in the synthesis and repair of DNA, and it supports foetal growth and development. Adequate levels of folate are necessary from the early stages of pregnancy to ensure proper formation of the neural tube, which later develops into the baby's brain and spinal cord.

Insufficient folate intake can result in neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

Folate vs. Folic Acid: Making the Right Choice

While folate and folic acid are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Folic acid is the synthetic form of Vitamin B9, used in supplements and fortified foods. On the other hand, folate refers to the various tetrahydrofolate derivatives naturally found in food.

Research indicates that not everyone's body can convert folic acid into the active form of Vitamin B9 efficiently. Unmetabolised folic acid may remain in the bloodstream.

Opting for a supplement with natural folate ensures you receive the maximum benefit without the potential drawbacks associated with folic acid.

NHS Recommendations

The NHS recommends that women trying to conceive should take a daily supplement containing 400 micrograms of folic acid.

However, we recommend folate supplements to ensure you meet your nutritional needs during this critical period.

Folate is indispensable during pregnancy, and understanding the risks associated with its deficiency is crucial for the health of both mother and baby. Considering the potential issues with folic acid metabolism, choosing a supplement with natural folate can offer peace of mind and support for a healthy pregnancy journey.

Further reading

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