The benefits of avoiding folic acid deficiency are significant, especially for pregnant women. Folic acid is a coenzyme with the chemical name pteroylglutamic acid. Although being a water soluble vitamin, folic acid can be stored in the liver, therefore doesn’t need to be taken daily to avoid depletion and deficiency symptoms.
Folic Acid Facts
Folic acid is important for the manufacture of nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) and healthy cell division and growth. It is also essential for the formation of amino acids, protein metabolism, and energy production.
Folic acid is needed for the formation of healthy red and white blood cells and is vital to the production of hemoglobin, used by red blood cells to carry oxygen. Vitamin B9 folic acid assists in the production of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters which regulate brain functions connected with mood, appetite, and sleep.
Benefits of Folic Acid
The benefits of avoiding folic acid deficiency include aiding digestion, helping the nervous system, improving mental health. It’s also helpful for anxiety and depression, exerting a mild antidepressant effect.
Folic acid benefits are vital for nervous system development in a pregnant woman’s fetus, and it’s a clinically proven fact that folic acid deficiency can increase the chance of birth defects such as Spina Bifida and Down’s Syndrome, and other serious nervous system defects.
Benefits of folic acid help with the production and function of white blood cells, fortifying the immune system.
Folic acid supplements have been documented to reduce homocysteine levels by 25 percent, by converting it to methionine (the amino acid homocysteine has been linked to heart disease and stroke). It may also protect against osteoporosis and some cancers.
Folic Acid Deficiency
Factors that may increase folic acid deficiency include alcohol consumption, caffeine, tobacco, stress, and insufficient dietary fresh fruit and vegetables.
Folic acid deficiency can lead to slower metabolism and tiredness, paranoia, poor memory, labored breathing, heartburn, red sore tongue, acne, cracks around the mouth, constipation or diarrhea.
More long-term folic acid deficiency may lead to anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, bowel and cervical cancer.
Folic Acid Side Effects and Dosage
Recommended dietary allowance (minimum daily dose to ward off serious deficiency) of folic acid dosage for men is 200 mcg and 180 mcg for women, although 1000 mcg folic acid dosage is commonly used in vitamin supplements.
Long term high intake of folic acid side effects can mask vitamin B12 deficiency, lead to digestive problems, insomnia, and fatigue.
Best Folic Acid Foods High in Folic Acid
Here are examples of where to find animal sources of folic acid foods and good plant foods high in folic acid:
Animal sources of folic acid foods : Organ meats such as liver, heart and kidney, pork, brewer’s yeast, egg yolk, milk, salmon and tuna.
Plant foods high in folic acid : Leafy green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, avocados, cabbage, mushrooms, legumes, wholegrain products, lentils, nuts, beans, apricots and oranges.
You’re therefore well advised to avoid folic acid deficiency by incorporating some of the above best folic acid foods into your diet.