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FOLIC ACID (VITAMIN B 9) (Systemic)
Some commonly used brand names are:
In the U.S.—
Generic name product may be available in the U.S. and Canada.
Another commonly used name is Vitamin B 9 .
Vitamins (VYE-ta-mins) are compounds that you must have for growth and health. They are needed in small amounts only and are usually available in the foods that you eat. Folic acid (FOE-lik AS-id)(vitamin B 9 ) is necessary for strong blood.
Lack of folic acid may lead to anemia (weak blood). Your health care professional may treat this by prescribing folic acid for you.
Some conditions may increase your need for folic acid. These include:
In addition, infants smaller than normal, breast-fed infants, or those receiving unfortified formulas (such as evaporated milk or goat"s milk) may need additional folic acid.
Increased need for folic acid should be determined by your health care professional.
Some studies have found that folic acid taken by women before they become pregnant and during early pregnancy may reduce the chances of certain birth defects (neural tube defects).
Claims that folic acid and other B vitamins are effective for preventing mental problems have not been proven. Many of these treatments involve large and expensive amounts of vitamins.
Injectable folic acid is given by or under the direction of your health care professional. Another form of folic acid is available without a prescription.
Folic acid is available in the following dosage forms:
Importance of DietFor good health, it is important that you eat a balanced and varied diet. Follow carefully any diet program your health care professional may recommend. For your specific dietary vitamin and/or mineral needs, ask your health care professional for a list of appropriate foods. If you think that you are not getting enough vitamins and/or minerals in your diet, you may choose to take a dietary supplement.
Folic acid is found in various foods, including vegetables, especially green vegetables; potatoes; cereal and cereal products; fruits; and organ meats (for example, liver or kidney). It is best to eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible since they contain the most vitamins. Food processing may destroy some of the vitamins. For example, heat may reduce the amount of folic acid in foods.
Vitamins alone will not take the place of a good diet and will not provide energy. Your body also needs other substances found in food such as protein, minerals, carbohydrates, and fat. Vitamins themselves often cannot work without the presence of other foods.
The daily amount of folic acid needed is defined in several different ways.
Normal daily recommended intakes in micrograms (mcg) for folic acid are generally defined as follows:
Before Using This Dietary Supplement
In deciding to use folic acid, the risks of taking it must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your health care professional will make. For folic acid, the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your health care professional if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to folic acid. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy—It is especially important that you are receiving enough vitamins when you become pregnant and that you continue to receive the right amount of vitamins, especially folic acid, throughout your pregnancy. The healthy growth and development of the fetus depend on a steady supply of nutrients from the mother. However, taking large amounts of a dietary supplement in pregnancy may be harmful to the mother and/or fetus and should be avoided.
Your health care professional may recommend that you take folic acid alone or as part of a multivitamin supplement before you become pregnant and during early pregnancy. Folic acid may reduce the chances of your baby being born with a certain type of birth defect (neural tube defects).
Breast-feeding—It is especially important that you receive the right amounts of vitamins so that your baby will also get the vitamins needed to grow properly. However, taking large amounts of a dietary supplement while breast-feeding may be harmful to the mother and/or baby and should be avoided.
Children—Problems in children have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts.
Older adults—Problems in older adults have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts.
Medicines or other dietary supplements—Although certain medicines or dietary supplements should not be used together at all, in other cases they may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your health care professional may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other dietary supplement or any prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of folic acid. Make sure you tell your health care professional if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Dietary Supplement
Dosing—The amount of folic acid needed to meet normal daily recommended intakes will be different for different individuals. The following information includes only the average amounts of folic acid.
Missed dose—If you miss taking a vitamin for one or more days there is no cause for concern, since it takes some time for your body to become seriously low in vitamins. However, if your health care professional has recommended that you take this vitamin, try to remember to take it as directed every day.
Storage—To store this dietary supplement:
Side Effects of This Dietary Supplement
Along with its needed effects, a dietary supplement may cause some unwanted effects. Although folic acid does not usually cause any side effects, check with your health care professional as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
RareFever; general weakness or discomfort; reddened skin; shortness of breath; skin rash or itching; tightness in chest; troubled breathing; wheezing
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some individuals. If you notice any other effects, check with your health care professional.
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