Pregnancy Home > Folic Acid Supplements

Not only is folic acid important for creating new DNA (the genetic material within cells), it also helps prevent errors when DNA is copied (when cells divide) and prevents other types of DNA damage. Not surprisingly, pregnant women are often encouraged to supplement their diet with folic acid in order to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
However, you don't have to be pregnant to take folic acid. For example, a supplement may be recommended for certain children and adults, as low folic acid levels can cause anemia by interfering with the normal division and maturation of red blood cells.
(To learn more about this supplement, including other reasons for using it and some of the side effects that have been reported at high doses, click Folic Acid.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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