January 21, 2017

The Importance of Folic Acid During Pregnancy

Many studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of this vitamin on a daily basis prior to conception and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect (a birth defect involving incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord) by up to 70%.

All nutrients are essential in preparing for pregnancy, but one — folic acid — merits special consideration.

Folic acid (folate, folacin or B9) reduces the risk of spina bifida in offspring (a leading cause of childhood paralysis) when consumed by pregnant women. It may also reduce the chance of other birth defects as well as childhood leukemia in offspring.

The most common neural tube birth defects from folic acid deficiency are:

  • Spina bifida, an incomplete closure of the spinal cord and spinal column
  • Anencephaly, severe underdevelopment of the brain
  • Encephalocele, when brain tissue protrudes out to the skin from an abnormal opening in the skull

In a new study from Norway, women who took folic acid supplements in the first two months of pregnancy were less likely to have kids with severe language delays.

When’s the last time you ate your Brussels sprouts? With the fast pace of modern living, it’s easy to slack on your folic acid consumption. Many Americans, deficient in this important B vitamin, suffer from depression, fatigue and insomnia. You don’t want to be one of them! Folic acid is crucial for bones, births and bedtime!

Folic Acid is found in the following foods:

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Practical Help To Relax Those Moving Legs!

Merton came in to my office complaining that he couldn’t sleep.  He was tired all day, falling asleep every time he sat down.  After some discussion, we found the reason for his sleeplessness:  his legs wouldn’t relax, he consistently felt he needed to get up and walk, or move around, all of which is known as Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).  Sometimes, this would wake him up in the middle of the night and he just had to get up and move.  The problem had gotten worse since he had quit smoking.  When he smoked, he found if he could just take one long drag and hold it in, then the feeling would go away.

We tried many remedies, including sleeping pills and natural sedatives, but nothing worked.  I was ready to throw in the towel and tell him to take up smoking again, until I thought that his problem might be related to something in the tobacco – nicotine!  Nicotine in tobacco can increase dopamine in the brain and “treat” some people with RLS.

Restless leg syndrome is not a disease; it’s merely a symptom.  There are multiple reasons for having this problem so there isn’t one cure for people with RLS.  Since most RLS seems to be an imbalance of dopamine in the brain, it has been treated as Parkinson’s disease with dopamine-like drugs such as L-dopa or Requip.  The problem with these is that they cause inflammation in the part of the brain that produces dopamine and, over time, can make the problem worse.  Before you consult a medical specialist I would recommend trying the following, one at a time:

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