Folic Acid Awareness Week Trivia
Test your knowledge of what folic acid is and why it is so important.
Folic Acid is:
- A B vitamin
- A form of vitamin C
- A substitute for vitamin E
- A mineral
Our bodies use B vitamins to create new cells every day such as skin, hair, and nails.
Folic Acid reduces the risk for:
- Spina bifida
- All of the above
Anencephaly occurs when a baby is born without parts of the brain or skull. Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that often results in a damaged spinal cord or nerves.
Women of childbearing age should consume:
- 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid everyday
- 200 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid everyday
- 400 milligrams (mg) of folic acid everyday
- 4 micrograms (mg) of folic acid everyday
Since about half of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned and the brain/spine begins forming before most women know they are pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages women to supplement their folate consumption, even if they are not planning to be pregnant.
All of the following are ways to be sure that you are getting enough folic acid everyday except:
- Consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid everyday
- Eat a bowl of cereal with 100% of DV (Daily Value) of folic acid
- Take a folic acid supplement
- Eat a cup of broccoli
While broccoli does provide some great vitamins and minerals, one cup of broccoli is only equivalent to 78 mcg of folic acid. You would need to eat approximately 5 ¼ cups of broccoli per day to provide enough folate to meet the recommended amount.
Spina bifida and anencephaly:
- Are neural tube defects
- Are among the most common preventable birth defects
- Risk can be reduced if a woman takes a daily folic acid supplement
- All of the above
Taking folic acid supplements is an extremely effective strategy to prevent these neural tube defects from forming very early on in pregnancy.
How many pregnancies are affected by spina bifida and anencephaly each year in the U.S?
Although spina bifida and anencephaly are among the most common birth defects, they are also the most preventable. Getting enough folic acid is a great way to prevent these from forming in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.
In order to help prevent neural tube defects, folic acid must be taken:
- After a woman discovers she is pregnant
- After a woman has had her first prenatal visit
- Before and during the first few months of pregnancy
- During her 3rd pregnancy
Between day 17 and day 30 of pregnancy, the neural tube forms in the embryo. This is when neural defects may form and before many women know they are even pregnant, which is why it is important to begin folic acid supplements before this point. This neural tube will eventually become the spinal cord, spine, brain, and skull.
While it’s important to eat a healthy diet, the easiest way to get the right amount of folic acid every day is to:
- Eat 2 cups of whole grains
- Eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables
- Drink a quart of milk
- Take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid
The daily recommended amount of folic acid can technically be met through dietary adjustments but would require consuming extreme amounts of specific foods. This is why most providers will recommend an oral supplement instead.