Life Health & Wellbeing

Thursday 19 July 2018

Nutrition guide: Week 6

Orla Walsh
Orla Walsh
All women of child-bearing age need to take Folic Acid

Supplements, as their name suggests, supplement a diet - they do not make up for large nutrient gaps.

Generally speaking, a varied diet that gets the right balance of food groups will provide the body with nearly all the nutrition it requires.

Nonetheless, supplements may be required. They can be required to fill a nutrient gap that is difficult to fill with food; they can supplement a diet when a particular food is avoided, and they can be delivered to the body in a medicinal dose for a particular benefit.

• Most of us need to take Vitamin D

Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, is essential for health.

Not only is there evidence confirming its importance in bone health, there's also been research suggesting it prevents certain diseases. For example, heart disease, diabetes, some inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, as well as some cancers.

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin as it's made by the body when the Sun's rays hit our skin.

As there are only a few foods that contain Vitamin D, most people rely on a supplement to meet their requirements.

• All women of child-bearing age need to take Folic Acid

Folic Acid is the synthetic form of the B vitamin called folate.

Folate, the natural form of the vitamin, can improve blood folate status but is not effective in protecting the foetus against defects of the spinal cord.

Therefore, a supplement of Folic Acid needs to be taken every day for at least three months before you get pregnant, and three months after conception so that the baby's brain and spine develop properly.

Although many people will be shocked to read it, up to half of all pregnancies are unplanned! Many people do not even realise they're pregnant in the first month which is when defects in the spine of the foetus occur (between 21 and 28 days after conception).

Therefore, it's important to plan for the unplanned and take folic acid every day regardless of being in a relationship or trying for a baby.

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