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Folic Acid

 –  You simply can't underestimate the importance of a healthy diet. When you fail to get the nutrients that you need from the foods that you eat, you can suffer from a number of symptoms from changes in your appearance to reduced energy levels. Fortunately, you can bridge the diet gap and ensure that you're getting all of the nutrients required for good health. At drugstore.com, we carry a wide selection of folic acid supplement solutions to complete your diet.
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What Is Folic Acid?



Folic acid is the man-made form of folate, one of the 13 essential vitamins that your body must obtain from food to ensure good health. Also known as vitamin B9, folate dissolves in water and cannot be stored by the human body. As a result, it must be obtained from foods on a daily basis. Dietary sources of folate include dark green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, asparagus, many types of beans, whole grains, salmon and avocado. Folic acid is also added to cereals and commercially prepared breads in the United States. People who do not get enough folate can develop digestive problems, gum disease, mental fatigue, shortness of breath and concentration problems. Folate deficiencies are fairly uncommon in the United States; however women who are trying to get pregnant, individuals who abuse alcohol or have certain digestive diseases can be at risk for not getting enough folate. Folic acid supplements can be beneficial in preventing and treating folic acid deficiencies.

Do I Need Folic Acid?



Scientists have studied the roles that folate plays in the human body and have determined that the nutrient is vital to developing babies. Specifically, the nutrient helps the spinal cord and brain develop during gestation. Pregnant women who do not get enough folate in their diets are more at risk for having a baby with a brain or spinal cord birth defect. As a result, most doctors recommend that women take a folic acid supplement during pregnancy on a daily basis until their babies are born. Some physicians also recommend that women who plan to become pregnant begin taking a folic acid supplement before conception.

Other Uses of Folic Acid Supplements



Folic acid supplements are sometimes used by individuals to address specific medical concerns based on scientific research that has uncovered potential health benefits of folate. Some researchers believe that folate deficiency can increase the risk of heart disease, so supplements are sometimes used by those who have the condition or are at risk for developing it. There are also some studies that suggest folic acid can be beneficial for individuals with hearing or vision loss related to age and for those suffering from clinical depression. More research is needed in these areas.

How to Choose Folic Acid



Before taking a folic acid supplement, talk to your doctor to find out how much of the nutrient you should be consuming on a daily basis. Look for a supplement that provides an adequate dose of the folic acid per serving. The doses will be listed in micrograms or "mcg" in the product descriptions. At drugstore.com, you can purchase folic acid supplements in traditional tablets, quick dissolve tablets and capsules in a variety of doses.

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