This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Folate and folic acid: A guide for nurses working in primary care

Written by: | Published:

Leafy green vegetables are a source of folate Leafy green vegetables are an excellent source of folate, but there are no long-term stores in the body

Since 1991, recommendations have existed for folic acid supplementation pre conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy for the prevention of neural tube defects. However, evidence demonstrates that this policy is not working. In June 2019, theGovernment started a 12-week consultation into the fortification of flour with folic acid to prevent neural tube defects in unborn babies, suggesting this could prevent up to 200 birth defects each year.1

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are defects of the brain, spinal cord and spine of a foetus where the spine, cord or surrounding vertebrae fail to develop properly. The two main forms of NTDs are anencephaly and spina bifida. It is estimated that 1000 NTD affected pregnancies are diagnosed in the UK each year, ending in termination, miscarriage, death soon after birth or long term disability.1

Folic acid is the man made form of folate. It is a water soluble vitamin, also known as vitamin B9. Folate helps the body form red blood cells, and reduces the risk of neural tube defects in unborn babies. A lack of folate could lead to folate deficiency anaemia.2

Folate is found in many foods such as liver, yeast extract, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, chickpeas and peas. Folic acid is used in supplements and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals. There are no long term stores of folate therefore foods containing it should be eaten frequently.2


Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.


What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.