Folic acid should be part of the prenatal regime to dramatically reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the developing fetus. Most reproductive experts agree that women of childbearing age, even before they try to conceive, should take extra folate to protect against possible defects in unplanned pregnancy. However, researchers out of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development recently published a report on the importance of folate in overall reproductive health from a cohort study.
More than 250 women between the ages of 18 and 44 participated in the BioCycle Study between 2005 and 2007. This study data was used in the folate cohort.
Conclusion: While natural folate is a good addition to the diet of all women in their reproductive years, it was synthetic folate that showed the greatest promise in promoting successful reproduction. Women who consumed more synthetic folate released more progesterone and experienced fewer anovulatory cycles or cycles where an oocyte was not released.
Source: Gaskins AJ, Mumford SL, Chavarro JE, Zhang C, Pollack AZ, Wactawski-Wende J, Perkins NJ, Schisterman EF. The impact of dietary folate intake on reproductive function in premenopausal women: a prospective cohort study. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e46276. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046276. Epub 2012 Sep 26.