Women who take recommended dose of folic acid every day could have better chance of getting pregnant, according to a study.
Folic acid, a form of vitamin B is used in our bodies to make new cells. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before she is pregnant, it can help prevent major birth defects of her baby's brain and spine.
However, the latest study involving more than 18,000 women for the first time revealed that it helps conception too, reported online edition of Daily Mail.
In the study, US researchers analysed the progress of 18,500 nurses hoping to become pregnant over an eight-year period in the 1990s. They found 13 percent experienced difficulties, with one in five of those given a diagnosis being told they had ovulation problems.
The study looked at the women's diets, whether they took multivitamins and for how long. Those taking multivitamins, which included folic acid, for six days a week or more, had a 40 percent lower risk of ovulatory failure, compared with those who did not take a pill, the researchers said.
Women who took a pill on three to five days a week had a 30 percent cut in risk, while those taking pills for two days or less were no better off than women not taking supplements.
The analysis showed folic acid was one of the most important reasons for the reduction in risk, although some other vitamins played a part, Jorge Chavarro, a research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston said.
He said: "The beneficial effect on fertility continued to increase as women consumed higher amounts of folic acid. It looks like folic acid is a major player in reproduction."
In Britain, 1mg of folic acid daily is regarded as the safe upper limit. Women hoping to become pregnant are currently advised to take a 0.4mg supplement of folic acid every day after stopping contraception, and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
But the advice is designed to prevent birth defects in the unborn baby - rather than help them get pregnant.
"It is better for women to take a multivitamin, if they are trying to get pregnant, because there is a great variation in folic acid intake through the diet," Chavarro added.