World of medicine has evolved miraculously for many centuries and we are grateful to be alive to see how medicine has helped us live better. The importance of vitamins in the human body was discovered more than 100 years ago. Since then, vitamin supplements have been made available for society in general to help themselves get enough nutrients to support their health. In this article, we will know more about folic acid and whether it is chewable.
The term folic acid and folate can be confusing as it can stand for two different meanings but both folic acid and folate are forms of vitamin B9. Folate is vitamin B9 that exists naturally in food while folic acid is vitamin B9 made synthetically. We can get high content of folate from intake of beef liver, spinach and asparagus. Some nuts such as peanuts or beans like kidney beans, and fruits such as oranges and bananas, are high in folate. Since folic acid is a manmade vitamin B9, it is mostly used to fortify wheat flour, cereal and bread.
Folic acid supplements in the market are available in many forms such as tablets, liquid and even chewable gummy. Thus, are folic acid tablets chewable? It is chewable if the product label said so or based on physician’s advice. Folic acid tablets can be chewable and non-chewable. Therefore, it is important for you to make sure the exact way to take it. For a non-chewable tablet, you need to take the tablet as a whole or split it in half without crushing or chewing it. This form of tablet is meant to work in the gut system by resisting acid in the stomach and the tablet’s effectiveness can decrease significantly if it is not taken as a full-sized tablet. For chewable tablets, chew it thoroughly, then carefully swallow. If you are not convinced folic acid in tablet forms works for you or you hate the taste of it, you can try getting it in the form of liquid and flavoured chewable gummy. Pharmacists should be able to assist you in finding the best form of supplement.
Vitamin B9 is essential for humankind as it helps formation of red blood cells and for cells in the body to work properly. Lack of vitamin B9 may cause blood disorders such as anaemia megaloblastic which is often linked with lack of vitamin B12 too. This anaemia may cause someone to become easily fatigue, constant headache and heart palpitations. Folic acid supplements in Malaysia are well-known among women in pregnancy. Upon medical check-up in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy or antenatal care, doctors will recommend pregnant women to take supplements such as folic acid, vitamin B12 and iron. Since pregnant women are prone to get deficiency of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals despite having complete meals daily, supplements are needed to cover the loophole and to support the growth of the baby. Deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women may risk their baby life both in short and long run since the baby can have neural tube defect (NTD), preterm birth or low birth weight baby. Some studies also show it helps lower risk for autism in babies.
Hence, humans need to prioritise daily intake of nutrients such as folic acid either by having a balanced meal or boost from supplements. As the old saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’. Supplementing folic acid not only helps pregnant women and people with anaemia, it also helps with brain function such as better thinking skills and cognitive function of all walks of life.