People have asked
People see my siggy and ask me frequently about folic acid (also called Vitamin B9 or the natural state of folate.)
From the "research" I've performed, this is what F.A. does to your developing fetus. F.A. helps increase red blood cells, which are the building blocks of life. Red blood cells are vital in the development of the neural tube (brain and spinal cord.) In order for F.A. to assist in the construction on this, you must have a good supply in your body and take this for the first six weeks of pregnancy (four weeks fetus age) in order for it to help in the neural tube development. After six weeks, F.A. is still good to take but does nothing to assist in closing the spine (spina bifia), or developing the head (anencephaly), or other NTDs. It is still good to take because of the developing body, etc.
From what I've read, most women can easily tolerate more F.A. in their diet. F.A. is often given to those who suffer from heart disease and heart attacks as it helps again with the red blood cells, etc. You might often see it as "good for your heart" on cereal boxes, etc.
So, here's the catcher. Most prenatals contain 800 mcg (just shy of 1 gram) of folic acid. After we lost our son, I took 5,000 mcg (5 grams) daily of F.A. MOST women's bodies will eliminate what they don't need. There is a danger for women who have a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Most women who have this are extremely thin and vegen (not all thin vegens have this deficiency). These women should not take excessive F.A. because it blocks the absorbtion of B12 (from what I remember). Again MOST can easily tolerate more F.A. in the diets.
So here are some things that were said to me over the last two years that are mind-boggling: "I don't need to worry about F.A. because I'm still young." FALSE, FALSE, FALSE. NTDs occur in women of all ages. It is not an age-related condition. "I eat a lot of spinach and orange juice." Well, good for you! However, you would have to eat about 20 lbs of spinach daily to get the amount of F.A. that I had to take. And cooking your food kills the F.A. You have to eat F.A. the raw state to reap its benefits.
Now. F.A. does not stop all NTDS, but the current belief (from studies) is that is dramatically reduces the occurrence of another child having a NTD. Some forms of NTDS are more severe than others. There are forms where there is 0% chance of life out of the womb and others where children will not have use of their legs. NTDs are believed to be multifactoral: genetic, environmental, etc. I have not read that it stops other forms of birth defects such as CP, etc.
I hope this enlightens you a bit. If you are ttc, please consider taking some extra F.A. You might not need the massive amounts that I needed, but perhaps just a little more will help.
I AM NOT a doctor. All this information was research on the net, medical books, and from Duke University. We are involved in a study there to help them identify the exact genes that are mutated in NTDs. My hope is that my girls will not have to worry themselves with this when they become parents.
Thanks so very much for listening.
Are you ttc? Don't forget your folic acid. Ask me why.
Last edited by Namaste; 07-06-2006 at 08:16 AM.