When it comes to celebrities, it’s often the hot messes who make it into the news. Charlie Sheen’s ‘WINNING’ streak, Lindsay Lohan’s court catastrophes, and of course our society ALWAYS loves a good break up.

At SocialVixen.com, we really try to focus on the positive news in the celebrity world – the men and women who are using their success to be good role models for society.

That’s why I was so excited when I received my invitation to attend a luncheon with Vanessa Minnillo to talk about ways to help improve women’s health.

Vanessa is making it a priority to share an important public health message with women nationwide by working with March of Dimes and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals to help educate all women of reproductive age about the importance of Folate and folic acid through a national educational campaign called Girlfriends for Folate (GFF) (www.GirlfriendsForFolate.com).

And NO, Vanessa told us, she is not pregnant! But, she has friends who are and she hopes to have children one day and so this is definitely an issue that she feels very passionate about!

Read More and View Photos After the Jump…

Regarding folic acid, Vanessa shared with fellow guests: “It’s not just for women who are pregnant or intending on becoming pregnant, it’s for women of reproductive age which is 18-45. Half of the births in the U.S. are unplanned and that’s a scary statistic. Literally, half of the women plan it and the other half had no idea it was going to happen. By the time you guys go to the store and get that test and pee on the stick, it’s four weeks in – at least! By that time, your baby is developing! It’s so important that women already have Folate in their system!”

Folate, a B vitamin (synthetically available as folic acid), helps regenerate cells. When taken before pregnancy and during the early months of pregnancy, it helps reduce the risk of serious birth defects of the spine or the brain, also known as neural tube defects (NTDs). March of Dimes recommends that all women of reproductive age supplement their diet with at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily. While many of our foods are enriched with folic acid, it is often the foods that many of us ladies are currently attempting to cut back on! Think carbs, aka ‘enriched’ bread.

Vanessa Minillo collaborates with March of Dimes

Vanessa Minillo at Girlfriend's for Folate Luncheon

There are other health benefits to taking folic acid – even if you don’t plan to get pregnant.

“Everyone wants to know” Vanessa tells us, “What are your beauty secrets? I have finally learned, it’s Folate. I’m serious! Your hair, your skin, your nails – these are regenerating cells. Everyone says pregnant women have that glow – (whispers) “It’s the Folate”.

We all laugh…! While Vanessa’s cheerful personality and good looks might entertain us, who wouldn’t want to have that glow? I know I want it – daily vitamins? Count me in!

Vanessa and her fiance, Nick Lachey have made it a routine to supplement their diet with multi vitamins:

“It’s so corny – I take (vitamins) with my fiancé every morning when we get up, I keep them in the kitchen right by the sink so I can see [the bottle] when I go to the kitchen to get breakfast. It reminds you that when you eat your breakfast, eat your vitamin.”

What great advice – at one point, Vanessa asked the ladies in the room – how many of us took a multi vitamin and to raise our hands if we did. It was quite shocking to only see a few hands go up and I’m ashamed to say, mine wasn’t one of them. This is something I plan to change. After all, without our health, it is difficult to perform to the best of our capabilities!

An objective of the U.S Department of Health & Human services (HHS)  Healthy People 2020 national initiative is to increase the proportion of women of child bearing potential with intake of at least 400 mcg of folic acid from fortified foods or dietary supplements – an objective that was not met in 2010.

The launch of Girlfriends for Folate marks a shared commitment to help HHS reach this goal.