Folic Acid Is a synthetic, water-soluble vitamin used in Vitamins and fortified foods. It’s a human-made version of the naturally occurring folate in VitaminB9 found in foods. The body can’t make folate, it has to be consumed through foods or supplements.
The natural structure of folate and folic acid are distinct hence have a slightly different biological effect on the body.
Folate is found in plants and animal food like spinach, kale, eggs, broccoli, avocado, beef liver and citrus fruits.
Folic acid, on the other hand, is added to flour, ready-to-eat cereals and bread.
It is also sold in concentrated form in dietary supplements
Functions of Folic Acid
●Helps tissues grow and cells work
●Works with Vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help the body break down, use and create new proteins
●Helps form red blood cells(prevents anemia)
●Helps produce DNA
Folate Deficiency may lead to
●Certain types of anemia
●Impaired immune function
Folate Deficiency can occur due to inadequate dietary intake, surgery, pregnancy, and malabsorptive disease.
Prevention of birth defects and pregnancy complications
It’s commonly used to prevent birth defects especially neural tube defects, spina bifida( It’s when the spinal cord, brain, or meninges (their protective covering) does not completely develop. It can be anywhere along the spine and usually can be seen in an opening in the baby’s back at birth), anencephaly(baby born without the part of brain or skull)
Folic acid is prescribed during pregnancy to prevent fetal birth defects and also help pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia.
With constant intake, it is used to treat folate deficiency
●It helps in the promotion of brain health(reduces & treats Alzheimer)
●Treat mental health disorder (treat depression when taken in conjunction with antidepressants)
●Reduces heart disease and kidney disease factors(reduces levels of amino acid homocysteine)
●Improves blood sugar control and reduce neuropathy risk in diabetes patients
●Intake increases Fertility
●Reduces inflammatory markers
●It Helps reduces medication side effects
Taking high unmetabolized folic acid may increase the risk of autism and neurocognitive development.
High intake of folic acid may
■mask B12 deficiency
■Suppresses immune function
Intake required 400 mcg per day for adults, 600 mcg for pregnant women, and 500 mcg for breastfeeding women. Although these needs can be met through diet, taking a supplement is a convenient way to meet folate needs for many people, especially those at risk of deficiency, including pregnant women and those patients who have folate deficiency.