Pregnant women have known the importance of having adequate amounts of folic acid in their diet before and at the beginning of pregnancy to help reduce the likelihood that their children will have a special form of birth defect known as a neural tube defect.
Now it appears that folic acid suppelments can also help reduce the symptoms of allergies and asthma.
Researchers looked at levels of folate in the blood together with markers in the immune system that increase in the presence of allergens.
People who had higher blood levels of folate showed fewer antibodies, reported fewer allergies, less wheezing, and fewer had been diagnosed with asthma.
Researchers will begin treating people with allergies and asthma with folic acid in an attempt to determine how folic acid provides this protection.
Until then, if you suffer from allergies or asthma, make sure you are getting adequate amounts of folic acid in your diet.
Many grain products, such as breakfast cereals and breads, are fortified with folic acid. Other ways to get more folic acid include dried beans and lentils, and dark green vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach.
A multi-vitamin supplement which contains 100% of the RDA of folic acid is good insurance that you are getting all the folic acid you need.