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Pregnancy Supplement You've Never Heard Of: MTHFR

You likely know of the importance of pregnancy folic acid supplements. Folic acid is a B vitamin required for normal cell growth and development. It helps prevent neural tube defects (NTD) very early in pregnancy, such as spina bifida. It may also prevent oral cleft and heart problems and high maternal blood pressure in pregnancy. I am a strong believer that folic acid supplements are important, and it's been well proven that they decrease the risk of NTDs in pregnancy. In Canada, grains have been fortified with folic acid for this reason. The effect has been decreasing the prevalance of NTDs by 46%.

Health Canada has some good basic guidance on folic acid and folate (the food form of folic acid) here. Essentially the recommendation is to start supplementing with 400 - 1000 ug (0.4-1 mg) three months prior to pregnancy, and continuing through pregnancy. If you have a family history of NTDs, supplement 5mg per day.

What's the problem with folic acid supplements?


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