Consultant gynaecologists have dispelled the notion that taking folic acids increases the risk of fibroids in women, noting that there is no scientific backing for such an assumption.
According to the experts, folic acid when taken by expectant mothers rather helps prevent birth defects in newborns. The experts also noted that contrary to some assumptions, folic acids do not enhance fertility.
The gynaecologists who spoke with PUNCH HealthWise explained while a daily dose of folic acid is recommended for every woman of childbearing age, it does not have any impact on the woman’s fertility.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, folic acid is a form of folate (a B vitamin) that everyone needs. It is even more important for pregnant women because it protects unborn babies against serious birth defects.
Folic acid can be gotten from vitamins and fortified foods, such as bread, pasta and cereals. Folate is found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, oranges, and beans.
Speaking with our correspondent, the experts, Drs. Mojisola Aderonmu and Ayodele Okwuosa encouraged women between the ages of 15 – 49 to take a daily dose of folic acid stating that it can be taken without a prescription and does not cause any harm.
Speaking with our correspondent, Aderonmu, who is also a fertility expert, explained that folic acid, a substance/supplement present in foods, especially green vegetables, helps in the function of the cell and specifically prevents neural tube defects in babies.
She said there would have been no need for taking folic acid as a supplement if people ate a balanced diet “but because we live in a part of the world where eating a balanced diet is not ubiquitous, it is wise for all women in the reproductive age group of 15-49yrs to take one tablet daily. The daily requirement is 400 micrograms daily.”
The expert also said that contrary to the belief held by many, taking folic acid does not cause or increase fibroid in a woman. The cause of fibroid is still largely unknown, she said.
Aderonmu, an In Vitro Fertilisation consultant with Medical Art, Lagos, also revealed that folic acid is best started three months before a woman gets pregnant, noting that research has shown that the benefits are significant if folic acid supplementation precedes pregnancy by at least 3months.
This is also supported by Okwuosa, who is a consultant gynaecologist with Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital. Okwuosa also added that folic acid does not in any way enhance fertility in women.