(HealthDay News) -- Folic acid is an important B vitamin for women -- especially for those who are pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant. It can help prevent serious birth defects of the baby's brain and spine.
Folic acid may also benefit men and women of any age, the U.S. National Institutes of Health says. Some studies show that it may help prevent heart disease, stroke, some cancers and Alzheimer's disease.
You should always talk to your doctor about what's an appropriate amount for you. The NIH site womenshealth.gov offers these general guidelines about folic acid: