Women who are trying to conceive or are already pregnant are recommended to take Folic Acid to help the healthy growth of the fetus. A new research suggests that the folic acid is useful in any form and it does not matter if it is taken in a softgel capsule form or as a tablet.
According to research published in this month’s Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Folic acid that supports a women’s pregnancy and is essential in helping the baby grow well and healthy in the womb, can be taken by women in any form without reducing its benefits. The researchers found that the bioavailability of folic acid does not significantly differ between deliveries in standard tablet or softgel capsule forms.
“This research provides important information to health professionals who treat women of childbearing age. Because half of all pregnancies are unplanned(1), intake of folic acid should be part of the daily routine for many women and this research helps to reduce barriers for its intake through supplements,” said Louis I. Ndife, DVM, Ph.D., Director of Medical and Scientific Affairs at Pharmavite LLC.
For the study 16 pre-menopausal women between the age of 18 and 45 were randomly assigned to receive a single dose of 1000 mcg folic acid in two tablets or 1000 mcg folic acid in a multivitamin softgel capsule. One week later they crossed over to take the folic acid in the other form.
Their blood samples were collected before the dose and at specific time intervals after the dosage. The researchers found that the bioavailability of the folic acid did not differ with the form in which it was taken.
The researchers found that there was slight delay in the absorbtion of the folic acid by the body in case of the softgel as compared to the tablet, but say that this delay is not significant in context of a long term nutrition.
Folic acid is routinely recommended by doctors to women as this Vit. B has been found to reduce the chances of Neural Tube Defects in newborns up to 70 percent. These genetic birth defects may lead to incomplete development and growth of the spinal cord and brain of the fetus inside the mother’s womb.
An estimated 3,000 pregnancies each year in the United States are affected by neural tube defects and that is why the U.S. Public Health Service and Institute of Medicine issued recommendations that all women capable of becoming pregnant consume 400 mcg of folic acid daily.
The FDA has also made it mandatory to fortify cereals with Folic Acid to increase its intake by women. Although this has helped reduce the incidents of neural birth defects by 26 percent, many women still do not get their recommended amount of Folic Acid in the diet. This has been especially seen in the last few decades with the increase in diet fads with many women following a low-carb regime. It is thus essential that Folic Acid is provided to them through drug supplements.