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What is folic acid, what does it do?

Folic acid is a form of vitamin B9 that can be dissolved in water. It is a key component in the production of nucleic acid, which forms part of all genetic material. It is a complex vitamin B similar to vitamin B12. Vitamin B9 and its forms perform important functions such as creating more red blood cells, preventing hearing loss and maintaining the brain health of babies. This article will examine the functions of folic acid, as well as where to find it and the effects of folic acid deficiency.

What is Folic Acid?

Folic acid (Folate) is important during pregnancy to reduce the risk of brain and spine birth defects. It is mainly found in dark green leafy vegetables, bean, peas and nuts varieties. Folic acid-rich fruits; oranges, lemons, bananas, melons and strawberries. The synthetic form of folate is folic acid. It is an indispensable component of prenatal vitamins and is found in many fortified foods such as cereals and pastas.

A dietary habit with foods poor in folate or folic acid can cause a lack of folic acid. Folic acid deficiency can also be seen in patients (malabsorption syndromes) that prevent the small intestine from absorbing nutrients from foods such as celiac disease. The recommended daily amount of folate for adults is 400 micrograms (mcg). Adult women who plan or conceive pregnancy are advised to take between 400 and 800 mcg of folic acid per day.

Why Is Folic Acid Important?

Vitamin B9 contains both folate and folic acid and is important for various functions of the body. According to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), folic acid is vital for the making of red blood cells, as well as playing a role in the following cases:

·      Synthesizes and repairs DNA and RNA

·      Helps rapid cell division and growth

·      Improves brain health, although evidence is mixed and more research is needed

·      Eliminates the risk of age-related hearing loss

It is especially important for women who are pregnant to consume enough folic acid. This helps prevent the fetus' brain or spine from developing large congenital deformities, including neural tube defects such as spinal bifida and anencephaly. Women who plan to become pregnant should take folic acid supplements for a full year before pregnancy to reduce the risk of developing these conditions. Folic acid is also thought to play a protective role in various conditions. These various conditions are as follows:


A recent study linked folic acid deficiency to autism. The researchers concluded: "Periconsceptional folic acid [before and early pregnancy] may reduce the risk of autism spectrum disorder in those with inefficient folic acid metabolism." More research is needed to verify the connection.

Cleft Lip and Palat

A literature review in 2014 concluded that folic acid supplementation can reduce the risk of cleft palat.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Folic acid is often used to support a prescription for rheumatoid arthritis.

Methotrexate is an effective drug for this condition. However, it is also known that in this case folate is missing in the body. This can cause gastrointestinal symptoms in 20 to 65 percent of people who use the drug.

However, folic acid supplements have been shown to reduce the gastrointestinal side effects of methotrexate by 79 percent. Talk to a doctor for recommendations on how much you should take and how often to take it. It is often prescribed 1 milligram (mg) per day.

Who Should Take How Much Folic Acid Supplements?

All women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should consume more folic acid, according to March, a research organization focused on the prevention of deformity and death in newborn babies. In addition, it is recommended that women take folic acid before conception and during the first 4 weeks of conception. Every woman who can get pregnant should take daily folic acid supplements. Women over the age of 14 should take 400 micrograms (mcg) per day, which should increase to 600 mcg during pregnancy. Women should take 500 mcg per day while breastfeeding.

In 2009, the PLOS Medical Internet Journal reported that women who took folic acid supplements for at least 12 months before conception could reduce their risk of having a premature baby by more than 50 percent. "Preconceptional folate supplementation is associated with a 50 to 70% reduction in the incidance of premature spontaneous preterm delivery," the researchers explained. Folic acid is necessary for spinal cord growth in the uterus. It is important that a woman who expects to become a mother consumes enough folic acid at the earliest stages of her baby's development. This is due to the fact that the spinal cord is one of the first formations in the uterus.

Natural Foods Containing Folic Acid

Dark green leafy vegetables are good sources for folic acid. Be careful not to overcook these vegetables, as the content of folic acid can decrease significantly when exposed to heat. The following foods are known to be rich in folic acid:

·      Asparagus

·      Bread yeast

·      Broccoli

·      Brussels sprouts

·      Cabbage

·      Cauliflower

·      Yolk

·      Baked potatoes

·      Kidney

·      Lentil

·      Liver (expectant mothers should not consume during pregnancy)

·      Many fruits, especially papaya and kiwi

·      Milk

·      Orange

·      Wild Carrots

·      Pea

·      Spinach

·      Lunar core

It is always better to take vitamins from natural food sources instead of supplements. Explore these food options and apply them in your diet.

Folic Acid Deficiency

Folic acid deficiency occurs when there is not enough folate or folic acid in the body. It can cause anemia and congenital deformities, as well as other health problems, including folic acid deficiency:

·      High risk of developing clinical depression

·      Possible problems with memory and brain function may occur

·      High risk of potentially developing allergic diseases

·      With low potassium, the risk of bone density is high

Anemia Due to Folic Acid Deficiency

Individuals can develop folic acid deficiency anemia if they do not consume enough folic acid. While folate is important for producing and maintaining red blood cells, its inadequate levels can mean that there are not enough red blood cells to provide the body with a healthy oxygen level.

This can be seen in people who require higher amounts of folate and do not take supplements, such as pregnant and lactating women. Anemia due to folic acid deficiency can be seen in people with basic conditions such as sickle cell anemia. It can also affect people with conditions that affect folate absorption. Abuse of alcohol or kidney disease can reduce the body's ability to effectively absorb folate.

Some drugs, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and drugs used to treat seizures, may increase the risk of anemia due to folic acid deficiency. Symptoms and symptoms of folic acid deficiency include:

·      Fatigue

·      Feeling weak

·      Wounds around the mouth

·      Memory and cognition difficulties

·      Nervous mood

·      Loss of appetite

·      Weight loss

People with anemia due to folic acid deficiency are given folic acid pills for daily use. Once folate levels return to normal, the body can produce enough blood cells to allow normal function.



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