Folic acid – a vitamin of huge significance
Folic acid promotes cell separation, reduces the risk of neural tube defects in unborn children, helps to allow a healthy development of the embryo and improves sperm quality. The awareness of this important vitamin is already wide spread, but some women still are undersupplied with folic acid before and after pregnancy.
Timely intake of folic acid is essential
The valuable vitamin of folic acid promotes cell separation and reduces the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida (open spine) or lip-jaw-gum clefts. Because the development of the neural tube is already completed on the 25th day of pregnancy, it is of particular importance for expectant mothers to be supplied with sufficient folic acid before and during pregnancy already. A healthy and balanced diet can nearly meet the need for folate (0.4 mg), the form of the vitamin which occurs in food. Wheat germs, soya beans, spinach or wholemeal products, for instance, contain lots of folic acid. At least four weeks before conception and during the first three months of pregnancy, however, there is an increased folic acid need of 0.8 mg per day, which can hardly be covered by the diet. For this reason, it is recommended that a folic acid preparation with 0.4 – 0.8 mg of folic acid be taken over this period in order to prevent an undersupply and thereby minimise the risk of neural tube deformities.
Gynaecologists can provide information
According to studies, 73% of all women do not consult a specialist when they stop using contraception. This circumstance means that many women are still not aware that they should be optimally supplied with folic acid already before conception in order to allow a healthy development of the embryo. Women wishing to have children are given lots of valuable information from their gynaecologists on the important functions of folic acid.
Folic acid improves sperm quality
As numerous studies have shown, folic acid not only promotes cell separation, but also improves the development of sperm and its quality. Men wishing to have children are therefore recommended to have a healthy diet rich in folic acid and to take 0.4 mg of folic acid in the form of a vitamin preparation as a precaution. This not only increases the sperm count, but also improves the DNA – an ideal precondition for a healthy development of the child.
The Swiss Folic Acid Campaign Foundation: committed with its heart and soul
The Swiss Folic Acid Campaign Foundation has been committed to raising awareness of the necessity of the folic vitamin amongst the Swiss population since its establishment in 2000. Maria Walliser (former ski world champion), who herself gave birth to a daughter with spina bifida and therefore also wishes to raise awareness of the topic of folic acid amongst the population for personal reasons, acts as an ambassador to the foundation. So far, the foundation has achieved huge success by managing to double awareness of folic acid from 38% in 1999 to 76% today. This is not least also due to the strong support of the foundation partners, which are continuously bringing to market new and valuable products enriched with folic acid.
Additional information is available at www.folsaeure.ch.