Women who are breastfeeding should take L-methylfolate, the active form of folic acid, on a daily basis. The recommended daily intake of folic acid for women who are nursing is 500 mcg daily. However, some products contain higher L-methylfolate doses, and it is unknown whether these high amounts are safe for use while nursing.
Can Breastfeeding Women Take L-Methylfolate?
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin (vitamin B9) found naturally in certain foods. After being absorbed into the body, folic acid and folate are broken down into L-methylfolate, which is the form of folate the body uses. In addition to being naturally found in the body, L-methylfolate is found in dietary supplements, both alone and in combination with other vitamins.
Women need more folic acid while breastfeeding, and L-methylfolate can be used by breastfeeding women to help meet their daily folic acid requirements.
More Information on L-Methylfolate and Breastfeeding
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of folic acid for breastfeeding women is 500 mcg daily. It is often recommended that women take a supplement, such as a prenatal or multivitamin, to meet this requirement. A vitamin that contains L-methylfolate will provide the same benefits as one that contains folic acid.
Some products contain L-methylfolate in amounts that are much higher than those recommended for breastfeeding women. At this time, it is unknown whether these high doses (higher than what might normally be found in a prenatal vitamin) are safe for use while breastfeeding.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider
You should discuss breastfeeding and L-methylfolate use with your healthcare provider. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision that is right for you.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Folate. In: Natural Standard: the authority on integrative medicine. Cambridge (MA): Natural Standard; 2011. Available at: http://www.naturalstandard.com. Accessed May 17, 2011.
Folic Acid. Drug Facts and Comparisons. Drug Facts and Comparisons 4.0 [online]. 2011. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed May 17, 2011.
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