Folate (natural form of B9 found in foods) or folic acid (synthetic form of vitamins B9), is best known for being essential when planning for a baby and during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects. The vitamin, in my opinion, does get enough credit beyond baby making.
Folate is essential for growth and in childhood. Folate helps to make DNA, form red blood cells and for the growth and repair of tissues. Folate deficiency in children can cause haematological changes such as megaloblastic anaemia and have consequences for their growth, as well as cognition (WHO). Some studies have reported lower scores in schoolchildren with low folate status.
Folate deficiency in the past was such a significant public health issue, that in Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) implemented mandatory folic acid fortification to floured use to make commercial breads, organic flour being exempt. Three slices of fortified bread contain approximately 120 micrograms of folic acid.
Clinically, I see many families who opt to eat organic produce and for good reason, and some family’s choosing to go gluten or grain free. All which can be justifiable decisions, based on your individual family’s needs and health concerns.
Often what isn’t thought of though is the folate requirements of the family, particularly women of childbearing age and young children. Aside from fortified grain products, beef liver, spinach, black-eyed peas, asparagus and brussels sprouts are among some of the richest naturally source of folate. What’s that? Slim chance your fussy child will eat any of those. I get it!
That’s why we added folinic acid, an activated form of folate (not to be confused with folic acid) to Fussy Essentials.
The recommend daily intake of folate in children is;
150 mcg for children aged 1-3 years
200 mcg for children aged 4-9-years
300 mcg for children aged 9-13-years
Written By Brittany Darling
NUTRITIONIST (BHSC), WESTERN HERBAL MEDICINE (ADV DIP),
CERT. PAEDIATRIC NUTRITION