Finding out that you’re expecting is one of the best feelings in the world. As a newly expectant mom, you’ll have a lot to consider. Like your preferred delivery method and whether or not you’ll use a midwife. You’ll also have to start taking folic acid, which is part of choosing the right prenatal supplement for your pregnancy.
It seems like a basic task, but the options are so many that it can be very confusing. From chewable gummies to liquid vitamins, the list is super long.
In this post, we’ll be taking a quick look at why folic acid is important and what the difference between folic acid and folate is.
Folate versus Folic Acid
Folic acid is something that has always been weighed up against folate found in prenatal vitamins.
Folic acid is a water-soluble B-vitamin that is recommended for use before and during pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects. This is actually the synthetic form of the B-vitamin that commonly gets added to foods like bread, flour, and cereal.
Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 that can be found in dark leafy greens, beans, mushrooms and meat.
Why do some women need to take folate instead of folic acid?
Folic acid and folate can help prevent neural tube defects, but the problem with folic acid is that some women can’t metabolise it. Some women need L-methyfolate instead of folic acid. You see, when you take folic acid, your body needs to undergo two conversions before it can be used. After folic acid has been converted to DHF and then to THF, the THF can be converted to L-methylfolate so that your body can use it. As many as 60% of all women have issues converting folic acid to the usable L-methylfolate form.
What are my supplementation options?
Now you might be left wondering if you should choose a supplement that contains folic acid or rather stick to one that contains folate. According to research, it might be better to supplement with folate straight off the bat. This can help prevent any issues relating to the breakdown of folic acid in the body.
The good news is that more and more prenatal vitamins now offer naturally occurring folate, so it should be easy to find a product that works for you. Try ensuring that the brand you choose contains folate (or folic acid), iron, iodine, calcium, and vitamin D.