Folic acid is also known as folate and is a type of Vitamin B, it is mainly found in leafy green vegetables, peas, oranges, lentils, dried beans, peas, etc. Folic acid helps in maintaining and producing the cells in our body. It also resists the changes in DNA which can cause cancer. The deficiency of folic acid can cause anaemia in adults as well as in children. Regular consumption of folic acid can also reduce the risk of high blood pressure, and heart stroke and is also good for skin and hair. So, folic acid usage is important.
This man-made form of folate is added to supplements and fortified food. The routine supplements of folic acid are highly recommended to pregnant women, as they can prevent birth defects in children. These supplements are readily available without prescriptions and are considered to be safe to consume. But you should consult a doctor if you have any kidney disease, any type of anaemia if you are an alcoholic or have any type of infection.
Here are the folic acid usage, its side effects, benefits, and the causes of deficiency of folic acid.
The causes of deficiency of folic acid can be
Intake of excess alcohol
Celiac disease, gastric bypass, short bowel syndrome or any other disease that can affect the absorption of folic acid
Or any drug that can affect the absorption
The deficiency of folic acid can have serious effects on your body. The recommended daily intake of folic acid in adults is around 400mg, in pregnant women, it is advised to take around 400-800mg daily, and in kids 150-300mg daily.
Folic Acid Usage: Benefits of folic acid
1. Synthesis of red blood cell
Folic acid helps in the production of new red blood cells. The lack of red blood cells can cause anaemia. The RCBs are produced in the bone marrow, where the cell division takes place. So, the deficiency of folic acid can reduce the division of cells which will also affect the division of genetic material and this can cause anaemia.
The risk of anaemia is higher in older and pregnant women. Menstrual blood loss and high nutritional demand increase the risk.
2. Prevents heart diseases
The studies have shown that there is an inverse relation between folic acid and heart disease. The homocysteine, which can increase due to the lack of folic acid can lead to blood clotting, thickening of walls of arteries and vasodilation. Proper intake of folic acid can prevent the thickening of arteries’ walls and can prevent us from cardiovascular diseases.
3. Reduce the risk of cancer
Folic acid is responsible for DNA and RNA synthesis, methylation and cellular division. DNA damage and faulty gene expression can cause cancer. DNA damage and its inability to repair can lead to the development of tumours. Women who have a deficiency of folic acid are more prone to breast cancer. Therefore, it is always suggested to eat right to stay away from such diseases.
4. Good for pregnant women
Folate leads to fetal growth and development. The neural tube which converts into the brain and spinal cord of the child grows with the help of folate. The deficiency of folic acid can disrupt the cell structure and leads to neural tube defect, so it is really important to take folic acid during pregnancy.
It also prevents premature delivery, miscarriage, multiple pregnancies, etc. It also manages PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) which is responsible for the failure of in-vitro fertilization. It affects at least 10-15% of women of childbearing age. The women who consume folic acid have better embryo quality and fertility rate.
5. Good for hair and skin
It stops the greying of hair, and hair fall and provides lustre to it. The production of new red blood cells helps in the transport of oxygen to the hair roots. It also regulates the functioning of sebum glands present on our scalp. It also prevents wrinkles, ageing, and fine lines, it basically makes our skin healthy. It gives a healthy glow to your skin, prevents acne, and protects you from sun damage. A sufficient intake of folic acid will make you look 20 in your 50s.
6. Good for kidney
The lack of folic acid can abnormally increase the level of homocysteine in our blood which can lead to chronic kidney diseases. It can also affect cardiovascular health. The appropriate intake of folic acid can decrease the level of homocysteine and can convert it into another type of amino acid. So consuming supplements of folic acid can reduce the risk of chronic diseases related to the kidney and can even reduce the severity of the existing disease.
7. Improve fertility in men
Folate is essential for DNA synthesis and methylation, the deficiency of folate can cause infertility in men. It is noted that consuming at least 50mg of folic acid daily can lead to a 75% increase in sperm count. The intake of the proper amount of zinc can also improve the absorption of folic acid, which is really helpful to boost fertility in men.
8. Cure anxiety and depression
It is proven that the low-level folate can lead to prolonged depression and anxiety. It also reduces absorption and gives a poor response to anti-depressant medicines. The L-methyl folate supplementation can help you cure depression and can help anti-depressant medicine do its work. This plays a role in neurotransmitter synthesis and regulates mood.
Folic Acid Usage: Side Effects of folic acid
There is no such side effect of folic acid, but the excess intake can lead to nausea, stomach upset, nausea, poor appetite, bloating, sleeping trouble, and depressive feelings. So, the intake of the right amount of folic acid is really necessary to keep our body fit and healthy. As per the sources, It is likely safe for most people to take folic acid in doses of no more than 1 mg daily. Doses higher than 1 mg daily may be unsafe. There is some concern that taking too much folic acid for a long time might cause serious side effects. Some research suggests that taking folic acid in doses of 0.8-1.2 mg daily might increase the risk of cancer or increase the risk of a heart attack in people who have heart problems.