Folic Acid Supplements for Cervical Dysplasia

For some women, consuming 400 micrograms of folate every day can be challenging. As you can see from the list in chapter 1, you pretty much have to make sure your daily diet includes beans, spinach and orange juice. Some of you might want to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement to ensure you’re reaching your target. Look for a supplement that gives 0.4 to 1.0 milligrams of folic acid (check the ingredient list for this information).

By the way, you may have noticed that I have been using the terms folate and folic acid throughout this section. Folate refers to the B vitamin as it is found naturally in foods. Folic acid refers to the synthetic form—whether it’s in a supplement or added back to foods like enriched breakfast cereals.

If you take a separate folic acid supplement, be sure to buy one that has vitamin B12 added. High doses of folic acid taken over a period of time can hide a B12 deficiency and result in progressive nerve damage. The upper limit for folic acid intake from a supplement is 1000 micrograms (1 milligram) per day.

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The Bottom Line…

Leslie’s recommendations for preventing and managing cervical dysplasia

1. First things first. If you are sexually active, make sure you get an annual Pap test.

2. Whether you are sexually active or not, don’t smoke cigarettes.

3. Boost your antioxidant intake by eating a diet that’s loaded with fruits and vegetables. Strive for at least five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

4. To get more beta-carotene, reach for bright orange and dark green produce. The best choices are sweet potato, carrots, winter squash, mango, cantaloupe, kale and collard greens.

5. If you are a non-smoker and want to increase your daily intake of beta-carotene, buy a multivitamin and mineral supplement with added beta-carotene. Most brands will offer 5000 to 10,000 international units (IU). If your multivitamin does not include this antioxidant, consider taking a separate beta-carotene supplement.

6. If you are a smoker, avoid taking a beta-carotene supplement. Increase your daily intake of beta-carotene from foods only.

7. Boost your intake of lycopene, found in red-colored fruits and vegetables. The best sources are heat-processed tomato products such as tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, tomato juice and ketchup. Other foods to add to your diet include pink grapefruit, guava juice, apricots and papaya.

8. If you opt for a lycopene supplement, choose one that has Lyc-O-Mato™ or LycoRed™ on the label.

9. Try to get more vitamin C into your diet. If you take a daily vitamin C pill, consider buying a supplement made from Ester C, a high-quality form of the supplement that’s more available in your body.

10. Be sure vitamin E is included in your daily antioxidant regime. Vegetable oils, corn oil, nuts, seeds, wheat germ and kale are good sources. Consider taking a separate vitamin E supplement that’s natural source and offers “mixed toco-pherols.”

11. Eat more foods rich in folate. Foods that offer the most folate and should be eaten on a regular basis include asparagus, spinach, lentils, kidney beans, unsweetened orange juice and whole-grain enriched breakfast cereals.

12. To ensure you meet the RDA for folate, make sure your multivitamin and mineral supplement contains 0.4 to 1.0 milligram (400 to 1000 micrograms) of the vitamin (look for folic acid on the ingredient list). If you decide to take a separate folic acid supplement, make sure you buy one with vitamin B12 added, since high doses of folic acid can hide a B12 deficiency.

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