Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Folic Acid Necessary For Preventing Neural Tube Defects

With June being National Spina Bifida Awareness Month, it's a great opportunity for Canadians to become educated on the importance of folic acid for healthy infants. In Canada, it is estimated that four out of every 1,000 children born will have a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida. Spina bifida occurs when the lower end of the neural tube fails to close resulting in abnormal growth in the spinal cord and backbone. Most infants born with this condition survive, although the degree of disability differs. Since many pregnancies are unplanned, physicians recommend that all women of childbearing age should take a daily multivitamin containing a minimum of 0.4 milligrams of folic acid to reduce the risk of spina bifida and other birth defects.
The following tips may help women get enough folic acid and prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects:
1. Eat a fortified breakfast cereal that contains folic acid;
2. Eat foods that are high in folic acid, such as dark green leafy vegetables, bananas, nuts and asparagus. Also, eat foods that are fortified with folic acid, such as certain breads, rice or pasta;
3. Take a daily multivitamin supplement, such as Centrum Forte® that contains 0.6 milligrams of folic acid.