VitaPath Genetics, the Spina Bifida Association and the National Council on Folic Acid today announced the launch of the free iPhone application—the VitaTrack Folate Tracker— which allows women to track their daily intake of folate and folic acid. Maintaining an adequate level of folic acid prior to and during pregnancy can reduce the risk of serious birth defects like Spina Bifida by up to 70%. Studies show that folic acid may also help prevent congenital heart disease, pre-term labor, and cleft lip and palate.
“Daily intake of folate and folic acid can help in many ways—most notably in the reduction of neural tube birth defects like Spina Bifida”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women take 400 mcg per day of folic acid in addition to folate from regular diet at least one month before getting pregnant. Studies have shown that the average consumption of folate among women of child-bearing age is well below the recommended level.
"Spina Bifida remains the most commonly occurring, permanently disabling birth defect in this country," says Cindy Brownstein, President and CEO of the Spina Bifida Association. "Very little is known about its cause, but we are fortunate that research has shown that the risk can be reduced through the daily intake of folic acid and a diet rich in folate. Tools such as this application can help to maximize this risk reduction."
"Daily intake of folate and folic acid can help in many ways—most notably in the reduction of neural tube birth defects like Spina Bifida," reflect Norma Ryan and Connie Motter, Co-Chairs of the National Council of Folic Acid. "The National Council on Folic Acid encourages every woman of childbearing age to take advantage of this valuable knowledge and tools such as the VitaTrack application to ensure she is receiving the necessary amounts of this vital nutrient."
Designed specifically for the iPhone, the VitaTrack Folate Tracker app will help women ensure that they are consuming the recommended amount of daily folic acid before becoming pregnant. Users can enter the food consumed each date by selecting from more than 8,000 diverse menu items and portion sizes to calculate their folic acid intake.
"This application is a great way for women who are considering pregnancy to assess whether or not they are getting an adequate level of folate in their diet," said Lee Kao, MD, PhD, a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist and a Reproductive Endocrinology Infertility specialist in practice at Laurel Fertility Care in San Francisco. "In many cases, women will discover that they are far below their recommended intake and should consult their doctor about folic acid supplementation before becoming pregnant."