All you need to know about folic acid


Folic acid is a type of vitamin B9 that can dissolve in water. It is a major component in making DNA, which forms part of all genetic material.

It is a B complex vitamin. Similar to Vitamin B12, Vitamin B-9 and its forms perform the essential functions of creating more red blood cells, and prevent hearing loss.

everyone needs folic acid, The acid is found naturally in many foods. But especially green leafy vegetables, beans and citrus fruits.

In some countries, such as the United States , most grain products, including wheat flour, cornmeal, pasta, and rice, have folic acid added.

folic acid is important, for pregnant women; To protect against birth defects of the fetus, One easy way for women to make sure they are getting enough is by taking nutritional supplements.


Sources of folic acid

  • ¾ cup of breakfast cereal : which provides 100 micrograms.
  • Boiled spinach provides 1/2 cup of it, 131 micrograms.
  • ½ cup of beans provides 90 micrograms.
  • 4 portions of boiled asparagus provide 89 mcg.
  • Chopped, cooked cauliflower provides 84 grams: 84 micrograms.
  • ½ cup of parboiled white rice provides 77 mcg.
  • A cup of raw spinach provides 58 mcg.
  • ½ cup of boiled green peas provides 50 mcg.
  • One orange provides 48 mcg.
  • ½ cup of raw mango provides 35 mcg.


Health benefits of folic acid

According to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), Folic acid is essential for making red blood cells. And also:


Folic acid and the health of pregnant women and the fetus

20 years ago, The United States of America has begun subsidizing foods containing folic acid as part of its efforts. To prevent birth defects in fetuses.

Which paid off in the form of a 30% reduction in birth defects, But there is also evidence that added folic acid may contribute to colorectal cancer.

Only long-term monitoring can reveal whether foods fortified with folic acid are safe — and show who is most (or least) likely to benefit from them.

at present, unless you are pregnant, nursing, or have a recognized folic acid deficiency, The recommended daily amount of folic acid is 400 micrograms.

The maximum safe amount of folic acid-fortified foods and supplements for pregnant women is 1,000 micrograms per day.

Learn about the most important vitamins for pregnant women


Folic acid and cognitive functions of the elderly

There is no conclusive evidence that folic acid supplementation improves cognitive function in older adults or people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.

Low levels of folic acid are associated with impaired cognitive performance. which can be improved through folic acid supplementation.

Doctors advise that if you are at high risk of developing dementia or are experiencing cognitive decline, Checking folic acid levels may be necessary.


Folic acid and stroke

Folic acid reduces the risk of stroke in people with high blood pressure. A new study suggests that doing so may lower your odds of having a stroke.

The cardiovascular benefits of folate, including folic acid, have been known for decades. Studies beginning in the 1970s showed that consuming more folate leads to fewer strokes.

Folic acid helps break down an amino acid that damages the inner walls of arteries. Such damage can increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.


Hypothyroidism and folic acid

This vitamin shares an important relationship, but rather indirect, A condition known as hypothyroidism.

If you suffer from this condition and do not get folic acid in your diet, You may be more likely to develop heart disease.

Research published in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” links low folic acid to hypothyroidism. Where the decrease in acid plays a role in the increase in homocysteine ​​levels.

This is because in healthy individuals, Folic acid is converted to methyl folic acid. It is the biologically active form of the vitamin.

Hypothyroidism results in decreased activity of the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate. It is responsible for the production of methyl folic acid in the liver.


Folic acid and the menstrual cycle

Folic acid supplements do not relieve heavy periods. but help ease her pain, The problem with this type of cycle is that it is anemic.

means anemia, Decreased amount of iron stored in the body, This is what doctors recommend taking folic acid and other vitamins that help build red blood cells.


The difference between folate and folic acid

Folic acid is mostly a supplement form of folate. However, there is an important distinction between these two different compounds.

Folate is a general term for a group of water-soluble B vitamins. B9 is also known.

Folic acid refers to the oxidized synthetic compound used in dietary supplements. While folate refers to tetrahydrofolate derivatives that are found naturally in food.

Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate. It is true that most of the medical community uses the terms folic acid and folic acid interchangeably.

But they enter the metabolic cycle in different ways, Natural folate is easier for the body to access than folic acid, which is a cheap, synthetic version.

And when people have the MTHFR gene mutation, It does not convert folic acid into folic acid.

MTHFR is a relatively common genetic mutation. And when people get this genetic mutation, They do not produce as much dihydrofolate enzyme.

It is the enzyme needed to adequately convert folate into the form of folic acid that can enter the main metabolic cycle.


Risks associated with excessive folic acid intake

One of the main risks associated with excessive folic acid intake is the development of cancer.

Treatment with folic acid plus vitamin B12 was associated with increased cancer outcomes and mortality from cancer.

The researchers hypothesized that excessive consumption of folic acid in fortified foods may be directly linked to increased rates of cancer.

Excess folic acid may stimulate the growth of established tumors. Which can eventually lead to cancer.

In one study , folic acid consumption above 400 mcg per day among older adults led to faster cognitive decline than non-supplement users.

Another study also found a higher prevalence of both anemia and cognitive impairment in association with high folic acid intake in older adults with low vitamin B12 status.

You may be interested to know: Benefits of vitamin B for pregnant women

Risks of folic acid deficiency

Apart from anemia and congenital anomalies, Folic acid deficiency can lead to other health problems. including:

  • Increased risk of clinical depression.
  • Possible problems with memory and brain function.
  • High risk of potential allergic diseases.
  • Higher long-term risk of low bone density.

Signs and symptoms of folic acid deficiency include:

  • Fatigue.
  • feel helpless.
  • Sores around the mouth.
  • Memory and perception difficulties.
  • The mood is irritable.
  • Anorexia.
  • Weight loss.

You may be interested to know: The seriousness of iron deficiency

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