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Importance of Folate

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Submitted By lauren12264
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The B-vitamins help the body use the fuel created by the energy-yielding nutrients- carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Folate is one of the B-vitamins that help in cell multiplication. It is important in the development of red blood cells and the cells lining the GI tract. The need for folate increases during the time of pregnancy as much cell multiplication is occurring. Folate supplements should be taken by women of childbearing age and continued throughout the first trimester of pregnancy. It is important for women to take them at these points to help prevent against neural tube defects. The neural tube is the embryonic tissue that forms the brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects are when there are malformations of the brain or spinal cord. The two main neural tube defects are spina bifida and anencephaly. Each of these defects begin in the early stages of pregnancy and can be prevented with the use of folate supplements. It is recommended that women of childbearing age consume four hundred micrograms of folate daily. To meet the daily recommended value, women between the ages of fifteen and forty-five years old should eat folate-rich foods, folate-fortified foods, and take a multivitamin each day. Another way one can reach the recommended value is by consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I think the recommended value for folate is not known. I do think that people are aware, however, of the benefits of folate and are actually using it. Evidence can be seen by the lowered number of neural tube defects each year. Since 1996, the number has been decreasing tremendously. I know from personal experience that doctors are letting their patients know of its importance and was told to start taking a supplement since I was eighteen. I will admit, though, that I do not know very many other people who are taking it regularly unless they are actually already pregnant.

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