This infographic provides clinical guidance about the vitamin folic acid, and the recommended consumption for children ages 0-13. Designed to be easy to comprehend, the infographic illustrates exactly what the B vitamin is, what it does, and why it is a critical component of a child’s healthy diet.
What is Folic Acid and Why is it Important?
Folic acid (sometimes called folate) is a water-soluble B vitamin that is naturally present in some foods and added to enriched bread, cereals, pasta and other flour based products. The main function of folic acid is to promote red blood cell synthesis and prevent anemia. Folic acid deficiency in infants and small children can slow growth rate, but the incidence of folic acid deficiency in the US is rare. Folic acid deficiency is usually only seen in children who have celiac disease (a condition which impairs intestinal absorption of nutrients) or those are receiving medications for the treatment of epilepsy.
How Much Folic Acid Should My Child Have?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for folic acid is set at 65 micrograms (mcg) per day for infants 0 to 6 months of age, 80 mcg/day for infants 6 to 12 months, and 150 mcg/day for children ages 1 to 3.
How Do I Ensure My Child Gets Folic Acid?
For infants, breast milk or formula supply all of the folic acid that is needed. It is well known that pregnant women need to contain adequate amounts of folic acid to prevent birth defects and promote healthy fetal development, but fewer breastfeeding mothers know that they need to consume plenty of folic acid to promote adequate folic acid levels in their milk.
For children aged 1 to 3, the best way to get folic acid is from foods. Rich diet sources for 0 to 3 year-olds are: spinach, asparagus, avocado, brocolli, green peas, oranges and bananas. Click here for serving size and daily intake recommendations.