Folic acid: Find out for fertility and pregnancy

Folic acid is important for the baby, especially in the first weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, women should want children have an adequate supply of this vitamin early in view. What is folic acid, which foods she hides and how much it needs it, we have put together for you. Plus: Our rapid test tells you how well you are already supplied.

What is folic acid actually is and what the body needs them?

Folic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin. It was only discovered in the 1940s and is also known as vitamin B9 or folate. The vitamin can not be formed by the body itself, but is required by the body for blood formation and for many metabolic processes. Folic acid is involved in the synthesis of DNA building blocks and therefore plays an important role in all growth processes in the body. For the growing embryo, it is essential to life.

What is the need of a human of folic acid?

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends young people and adults to take daily 300 micrograms of folic acid to himself. Women who want children and pregnant women are 800 micrograms of folic acid recommended. Overdosing has no beneficial health effect. The body can not utilize the excess vitamin and separates it from the urine. Too much folic acid may even mask a vitamin B12 deficiency in medical tests. As a side effect of regular intake of over 1,000 micrograms of folic acid damage of vascular walls is suspected. In the German population underdosing is much more common to observe about two-thirds of adults are below the predetermined level.  

Why is folic acid so important in pregnancy?

Folic acid plays in the Nutrition during pregnancy a significant role, it is one of the most important vitamins in the first three months of pregnancy. In folic acid deficiency, the central nervous system of the fetus can not develop healthily. In extreme cases, spina bifida (spina bifida), a lip and palate and other malformations may result. Also, premature births are attributed, among other things, to a lack in early pregnancy.  

When does taking tablets sense?

Since doubled during pregnancy the need for folic acid to 800 micrograms per day, it is not easy to cover this only by healthy foods - especially since the body can absorb only about 50 percent of the so-called folate from food. For prolonged storage detrimental to the folic acid content, as well as heat. In Cooked is less available from the vitamin. For women with a concrete desire for children and for pregnant women up to the twelfth week of pregnancy taking tablets is therefore useful because folic acid can be added easily and effectively in this way. If everything goes normally, the folic acid can be met from the 13th week of pregnancy again exclusively by lots of vegetables and fruit as well as folic acid-fortified iodized salt. It is important that you hold with your gynecologist regarding dosing consultation. Preparations can be bought in pharmacies and drugstores as tablets, capsules, effervescent tablets and dragees.  

Why are tablets, especially women who are planning a child to recommend?

Women who want a baby should take from the discontinuation of the contraceptive in folic acid preparations, so that the embryo is now adequately supplied with the vitamin. So the risk of occurring developmental disorders can be greatly minimized the child in advance. If you want to get pregnant, you should at least four weeks in advance especially well to be careful that you get enough of the micronutrient. It takes some time namely until the folic acid can build up in your body up to the recommended level. With a preparation you can ensure that your baby from the beginning is well supplied. Because especially in the early stages of pregnancy the vitamin is so important for the development of your child: It is instrumental in cell formation and division. In addition, it creates the conditions for the healthy formation of the nervous system. In this context, interesting to know: It probably seems to be a link between folic acid deficiency and infertility.

Why should be paid to adequate folic acid even after birth?

Not only while you're pregnant, but after birth it is advisable to pay attention to folic acid-containing food. Because with your health you favor the your child: Breastfeeding nutrient on the Muttermlich gets into the bloodstream, thereby promoting your baby's growth and development of organs. Infants under four months, according to the experts a requirement of 60 micrograms per day, babies between four and twelve months should take 80 micrograms per day. To ensure this, nursing mothers should take 600 micrograms a day of vitamin to be - possibly again using a dietary supplement.  

What foods contain folate?

Pregnant woman eating a saladiStock, gilaxia

Especially because you can not make it the vitamin B9, a conscious choice of food is so important. The best folic acid Suppliers are legumes (lentils, beans), yeast and germ of cereals (eg wheat germ). Also, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, asparagus, lettuce, and other vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, avocado, carrots, tomatoes, sprouts, radishes contain folate. Whole grains, soybeans, oranges, bananas, egg yolks, meat (especially liver), fish, nuts and milk also contain vitamin B9 and are important for a vitamin-rich diet before and during pregnancy.

Attention: Folic acid is light and sensitive to water. Especially leafy vegetables should not be soaked for too long. Even long storage and cooking times reduce the folic acid content in fresh foods. Careful preparation and short cooking times are recommended, because if too much heat the micronutrient is destroyed. You should also the quantities put folate in foods, do not overestimate. To achieve the recommended guideline, it requires a very rigorous diet. 

How Do I Know if I Have deficiency?

Even if you expect a child at the moment or want to become pregnant, a sufficient supply of folic acid is an important issue. Without constant supply storage in the liver are depleted after three to four weeks. Symptoms of folate deficiency: fatigue lack of concentration irritability pale lips, eyelids and gums insomnia palpitations tinnitus dizziness, a disturbed sense of taste mucositis weight loss diarrhea first clues as to whether you are sufficiently supplied, provides the developed by the German Green Cross Quick test. Absolute certainty can only offer a blood test at your doctor.

How can it be that I take enough folic acid?

Since there are many reasons. The most common are:

  • unbalanced diet
  • Unilateral and lengthy slimming diet
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoke
  • certain medications (for example, the pill)
  • too much direct sunlight (the vitamin is very sensitive to light, especially with light skin strong solar radiation reduces the folic acid in the body)
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency

Do children need folic acid?

And whether! Rapid growth increases the need enormous. Therefore, for example, should take seven 300 micrograms of folic acid per day to ten years on the recommendation of the DGE. Through a healthy, balanced diet that value is reached relatively quickly.

Is it true that is enriched in the US flour targeted with folic acid?

Yes. In the United States, Canada, Chile and Hungary folic acid supplement is required by law in flour. The aim is to reduce the number of pregnancies with spina bifida (open spine) or other malformations. Also in Switzerland, more than 300 products have been fortified with folic acid since the year 2000. Because folic acid is so important for the unborn child just when the mother know nothing of pregnancy, experts predict that the number of defects can be significantly reduced by these measures. Other experts warn of the danger of an accidental overdose. In Germany the addition of folic acid to common foods is not yet enshrined in law. It is believed that one can supply enough Nährstöffen through conscious eating and beyond has the opportunity to buy food supplements or folic acid enriched granola bars, drinks or saline.