Cannabis in supplementation of folic acid in pregnant women
Folic acid (otherwise: folate, folate, pteroylglutamic acid, vitamin B9) is needed by every person, all cells of the body. Our body cannot produce it (just like, for example, vitamin D3) and it must be supplied from food or pharmacological preparations. Lack of folic acid is especially dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause serious defects in the fetus, including neural tube defects (anencephaly and spina bifida). These are lethal defects, i.e. they do not give the child a chance for survival or are associated with a serious disability.
When should I use folic acid during pregnancy?
Neural tube defects may arise in the first four weeks after fertilization, so the pregnant woman should introduce supplementation during this period. Also, every woman planning a pregnancy should take folic acid at least one month before the planned conception and continue taking it until the end of the 12th week of pregnancy. Studies show that supplementation with folic acid for one month before pregnancy and during the first trimester of pregnancy reduces the risk of birth defects, mainly neural tube defects, by 50 – 70 percent.
Between days 17 and 30 after conception, the neural tube of the developing baby forms and then closes. It then transforms into the spinal cord, spine, brain and skull. When the process of its “closing” is disturbed, the development of the brain and spinal cord is stopped due to further contact of these organs with the amniotic fluid.
There are also indications that folic acid may reduce the risk of other birth defects, such as cleft lip and palate, and some congenital heart defects.
Recommended doses of folic acid
It is commonly recommended to use 400 µg (micrograms) of folic acid daily (in the form of a one-component preparation or in a multivitamin supplement). It should also be taken into account that the bioavailability of synthetic folic acid is much greater than that of folates contained in food and fortified food products.
Women from families with neural tube defects should take 4.0 mg of folic acid daily. Women taking antiepileptic drugs should receive 1.0 mg per day. However, it is not recommended (except for the doctor’s recommendation in a specific case) to exceed 1500 micrograms (1.5 mg) of synthetic folic acid. Too high doses can cause loss of appetite, nausea, and gas.
In addition to supplementation, a diet rich in folic acid is also important. It is most abundant in green-leaved vegetables, hemp seeds, brewer’s yeast, orange juice, beans, chicory, peas, vegetables, spinach, asparagus, turnips, lentils, soybeans, wheat germ, egg yolks and calf liver.
Hempcontain many nutrients, including large amounts of folic acid, so it is worthwhile to include in the diet of a pregnant woman or a nursing mother. In addition, the seeds are characterized by a high content of dietary fiber, they are a source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Protein contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass and helps maintain healthy bones. In addition, other parts of the plant, such as the inflorescences, contain enormous amounts of health-promoting properties that can help pregnant women. Cannabidiol (CBD) contained in flowers can improve appetite, relieve nausea, provide calmness and good sleep, support immunity and prevent premature contractions.
Remember, however, that pregnancy is a special period for the female organism and any decision regarding supplementation should be consulted with a doctor.