Important notice to customers — product packaging changesLearn More

NEW FOOD PACKAGING IN STORE NOW

From August 2018, customers will notice our rebranded food packaging start to appear on shelf in all major stockists.

  • CURRENT Packaging
  • new Packaging

We are excited to announce our new packaging will start to appear on shelf from August 2018. This transition to new packaging will occur over a number of months. During this time there will be a mix of current and new packaging on shelf.

There are no major changes to these products, in some instances there is a small name change or slight recipe improvement, see below for the full details.

Products purchased via the website will be delivered to customers in our old packaging until the end of October. From November, products ordered from the website will be delivered in the new packaging.

Please note, our Infant Formula packaging will not be rebranded until later in 2019.

For any questions, connect with our team of accredited practising Dietitians on +61 3 6332 9200

Product name changes

  • Cereal Name Changes
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Baby Rice
  • NEW Packaging Organic Rice with Prebiotic (GOS) Note: Our Baby Rice recipe has been upgraded to now include GOS Prebiotic
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Vanilla Rice Custard
  • NEW Packaging Organic Milk & Vanilla Baby Rice
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Apple & Cinnamon Porridge
  • NEW Packaging Organic Apple & Cinnamon Baby Porridge
  • Ready To Serve Name Changes
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Banana, Pear & Mango
  • New Packaging Organic Banana, Pear, Apple & Mango
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Mango, Blueberry & Apple
  • New Packaging Organic Blueberry, Mango & Apple
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Peach & Apple
  • New Packaging Organic Grape, Apple & Peach
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Pumpkin & Tomato Risotto
  • New Packaging Organic Pumpkin, Sweet Potato & Tomato
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Broccoli, Beef & Brown Rice
  • New Packaging Organic Beef & Vegetables
  • Note: We have also upgraded some of our RTS recipes to remove added sugars and to remove some of the more complex ingredients that are not required for young children such as Tamari.
  • RUSKS NAME CHANGES
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Milk Rusks Toothiepegs
  • New Packaging Organic Milk Rusks
Home/Nutrition & Recipes/Articles/Infant & Toddler Nutrition/Nutrition/Why is Folic Acid So Essential in Your Diet

Why is Folic Acid So Essential in Your Diet

 

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Folic acid and folate is a B group vitamin that’s essential for healthy growth and development. Folate occurs naturally in food (particularly dark green leafy vegetables), and folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, commonly used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulations.

Folic acid helps the body break down, use, and create new proteins. It helps form red blood cells and create new DNA, and prevents against heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type-2 diabetes and depression. Most well-known, however, is the fact that folic acid plays a key role with pregnant women by preventing birth and neural tube defects.

The benefits of folic acid

Folic acid is an essential B vitamin, meaning every person needs it in order to maintain good health. As folic acid is water soluble, however, it passes through your body very quickly. By taking folic acid every day, you ensure that you always have it in your system.

Folic acid as a whole carries a wide variety of benefits, whether you’re male, female, an infant or pregnant. How much you require can differ depending on your situation, but the benefits of adequate folic acid remain the same:

Fertility

Folate is necessary for fertility in both men and women. Studies have shown that women who were having trouble conceiving due to ovulation problems had fewer difficulties when taking a folic acid supplement, and men who consumed high levels of folic acid had a 74% increase in normal sperm count.

Heart disease

Folic acid has been shown to effectively lower levels of an amino acid in the blood called homocysteine, which has been linked to heart disease in high doses. In fact, one study suggested that by increasing folic acid intake, the risk of heart disease could drop by up to 16%, and the risk of blood clots in the leg could drop by 25%.

Type 2 diabetes

Folic acid may help with the breakdown of triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood that’s used for energy and is linked with type 2 diabetes. Folic acid also helps lower levels of homocysteine, which plays an etiologic role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes by promoting oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction.

Cancer

Folate is thought to play a significant role in cancer prevention. Epidemiologic evidence consistently shows inverse associations between higher intakes of dietary folate and a reduced risk of cancer of the colon, other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, and more recently, of the pancreas.

Many people receiving chemotherapy for cancer experience drops in their folic acid levels and blood counts due to the effect of certain drugs, which can result in anemia. Therefore some doctors suggest closely monitoring folic acid levels during treatment.

Depression

Folate deficiency has been linked to the development of major depressive disorder (MDD), as well as poor response to antidepressant medications. L-Methylfolate, a form of folic acid, crosses the blood-brain barrier and plays a role in neurotransmitter synthesis. It indirectly facilitates the synthesis of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, three neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation and other important bodily functions.

Folate vs folic acid

While folic acid and folate are often marketed as the one and the same, their metabolic effects can be quite different. Folate is the bioavailable, natural form of vitamin B9 found in a variety of plant and animal foods, while folic acid is the synthetic form often found in supplements and fortified foods.

Folic acid from food is not associated with any health risk. As a water-soluble vitamin, any significant excess will naturally be eliminated through the body via urine, therefore the body is more adept at using folate.

Foods known to be high in folate include:

  • Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach etc)
  • Asparagus
  • Fortified whole grains (pasta, cereal, breads etc)
  • Beans and legumes (nuts, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans etc)
  • Chicken liver
  • Broccoli
  • Avocado
  • Cos lettuce
  • Mango
  • Orange
  • Banana.

In Australia, bread manufacturers must add folic acid to the wheat flour used to make bread and other bread products such as rolls, bagels, English muffins and baguettes. This is called mandatory fortification and it is expected to prevent between 14 and 49 neural tube defects each year in this country.

Most people that eat a well-balanced, folate-rich diet will consume close to 400 micrograms of folate, but as folate is a very tricky nutrient to monitor, you can never be too sure.

Most multivitamin supplements contain 400 micrograms of folic acid in each dose. Check your supplement bottle to be sure. Most prenatal supplements contain 600 micrograms per dose.

How much folate/folic acid do you need?

Men

The upper daily limit recommendation for adult men is 1 milligram, ideally reached through food.

Men do not require as higher doses of folic acid as women, as there is no risk of pregnancy.

If you decide to opt for supplements, doses of folic acid should not exceed 1,000 micrograms per day. Too much folic acid may result in a vitamin B-12 deficiency, which could cause permanent nerve damage if left untreated, and may result in stomach problems, sleep problems, skin reactions and seizures.

If you and your partner are trying for a baby, talk to your doctor about gradually increasing your folic acid intake to help increase fertility and lower the risk of sperm dysfunction.

Women

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Women able to get pregnant need 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid per day, and pregnant and breastfeeding women require at least 600 micrograms per day.

Since most women don’t eat enough folate-rich foods to get all the folic acid they need – and because the body absorbs folic acid better from vitamins than from food – a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid is highly recommended when trying for a baby. Getting enough of this important nutrient is essential for preventing birth defects that affect a baby’s developing brain, spinal cord, and other organs, and – as folic acid is required in the very early stages of pregnancy – women should discuss their folic acid needs long before planning to have children.

Some doctors suggest that breastfeeding women continue with their prenatal vitamins to be sure they are getting plenty of folic acid, however the amount can be lowered to 500 micrograms if desired.

If you had a baby with a birth defect of the brain or spine and want to get pregnant again, your doctor may suggest a prescribed amount of up to 4,000 micrograms of folic acid.

Older adults

Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss for older Australians, and evidence shows a link between increased levels of folic acid and a reduced risk in the degenerative disease. Macular degeneration is commonly associated with dysfunction of the blood vessel lining caused by high levels of homocysteine, and folic acid’s ability to decrease the non-protein amino acid is said to lower the risk of macular degeneration by as much as 34%.

As many dietary supplements taken by older adults contain folic acid, talk to your doctor before increasing your intake.

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Important Notice to Parents and Guardians

  • The World Health Organisation recommends that breastfeeding is best for your baby.
  • Having a balanced diet when breastfeeding is also important. Infant Formulas should only be used after you’ve sought advice from a doctor or health practitioner.
  • A decision not to breastfeed can be difficult to reverse and introducing partial bottle feeding may reduce the supply of breast milk. It is also wise to consider the cost of infant formula.
  • If you use infant formula, all preparation and feeding instructions must be followed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This is important for your baby’s health.