The importance of folic acid, its sources, and the risks of deficiency
Are you wondering what it is? Folic acid? It is a B vitamin complex Vitamin B9 known as folic acid or folic acid and used by the body to produce red blood cells. These complex vitamins are necessary for the proper metabolism of proteins and fats, and help protect the digestive system, skin, hair, nervous system, muscles and other tissues in the body.
Benefits of folic acid for the body
Folic acid aids in the production of RNA and DNA and is essential during times of rapid growth such as pregnancy, adolescence, and childhood. Supported by vitamin B12, folic acid helps control red blood cell production and helps distribute iron properly in the body, a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to anemia.
folic acid sources
Folic acid is found in high concentrations in some vegetables and foods such as liver, fruits, leafy greens, yeast, peas, and dried beans. Many people do not eat enough of these foods and vegetables to get the necessary amount of folic acid. Which leads to a deficiency in the body. .
People with celiac disease, alcoholics, or people with irritable bowel syndrome are at increased risk of developing a folic acid deficiency, which can pave the way for many other health problems.
Pregnancy and folic acid
A deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy poses a risk to both the mother and the fetus as the fetus depletes the mother’s supply of folic acid, and the presence of adequate folic acid in a woman’s body before pregnancy can help prevent serious congenital malformations of the brain and spine. infant.
These birth defects are called neural tube defects (NTDs), and women must take folic acid daily, even before pregnancy, to prevent this defect from occurring.
Heart and folic acid
Folic acid also helps in controlling the levels of amino acids in the blood, as high levels of these acids in the blood can lead to various diseases such as heart disease. Some types of B vitamins, including folic acid, work in conjunction with enzymes to lower levels of amino acids. Diseases such as coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease have been associated with a deficiency of this acid.
Throat cancer prevention
A medical study reported that folic acid can protect against throat cancer, and that the secretion of blood in the larynx is a problem that occurs as spots in the lining of the mouth or throat that can contain cancer cells. Italian researchers said they had encouraging results from a study that used folic acid supplements to treat throat problems that can lead to cancer.
They reported that 31 of the 43 leukemia patients had a 50 percent reduction in patch size after six months of treatment with folic acid, and each patient received five milligrams every eight hours. The research team noted that previous studies showed that patients diagnosed with head or neck cancer or leukemia in the throat had lower than normal levels of folic acid in their blood.
Medical use of folic acid
Folic acid is used to treat the following conditions:
- Preventing birth defects
- Gingivitis (wash only)
- High concentration of amino acids (along with Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12)
- Cervical examination
- Post pregnancy and childbirth support
Folic acid deficiency
Most people don’t get enough folic acid, and high levels of the amino acid are common in heart disease. Much of the population in Western countries has mild symptoms of folic acid deficiency, and it is possible that 13,500 cardiovascular disease deaths annually could be saved by increasing folic acid intake.
Folic acid plays an important role in building cells, and one of the complications of a deficiency of this acid is the cause of a type of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia. In most cases, people who take birth control pills, have malabsorption disorders, liver disease, or are alcoholics have a folic acid deficiency.
This deficiency generally occurs in elderly people with hearing loss. The effect of folic acid can be weakened by some medicines such as antacids, triamterene, anticonvulsants, cimetidine, cancer medicines.
Required dose of folic acid
Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should take 400ml of folic acid daily to reduce the risk of birth defects, and doctors sometimes recommend this dose to reduce the risk of heart disease.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that the pills be supplemented with folic acid. Those who eat cereal regularly only need 100ml of folic acid per day. However, this low level often does not maintain high levels of folic acid in the body. A pregnant woman should consume 300-400 ml daily to avoid a deficiency of this acid.
Folic acid deficiency and Down syndrome
A study, the first of its kind in Egypt, conducted using genetic engineering on mothers of children with Down syndrome, found that the lack of food rich in folic acid in the pregnant mother, which is available in legumes, led to an increase in the number of chromosomal defects. This increases the likelihood of having a Down child.
The study proved that there is no mutation in any particular gene in the DNA taken from mother’s blood samples, and that this mutation is not an important factor in increasing the rate of Down children in mothers, but the important thing is that the study found that the amount of folic acid that mothers consumed was statistically less than the amount Required when compared to the control sample and towards consumption of leafy vegetables, legumes and folic acid with close follow-up by an obstetrician and gynecologist.
questions and answers
What is folic acid?
It is one of the many types of vitamin B and it is called B9, which is an important and very necessary vitamin for the division and reproduction of the fetus when the organs are formed in the first days of pregnancy, the most important of which are the cells of the central nervous system. It is found in most foods, especially vegetables, fruits, grain products, meat, lentils, beans and nuts.Because it is a water-soluble vitamin, the excess is excreted in the urine and is therefore a safe vitamin.
Does this acid protect against congenital malformations?
It has been demonstrated empirically and conclusively, and in more than one medical research, that a woman taking folic acid before pregnancy reduces the risk of her fetus developing spinal cord malformations (such as spina bifida and anencephaly) by 50-75%.
Is folic acid harmful?
It will not cause any harm, but it is recommended not to take more than necessary for those suffering from a vitamin B2 deficiency.
When is folic acid taken?
It is taken before pregnancy at least one month daily until the end of the first month of pregnancy and preferably until the end of the third month of pregnancy as a precaution. Since there are unplanned pregnancies that can be as high as 50%, it is recommended that it be taken as soon as you stop using more effective contraceptives such as the IUD and the pill.
Are there other benefits to folic acid?
Yes, folic acid can reduce the incidence of congenital malformations in the fetus in other organs such as malformations of the heart, kidneys, lips and cleft palate and also plays a very important role in the production of red blood cells and the increase in hemoglobin.
In recent years, there have been medical studies that have shown that folic acid can help prevent coronary artery disease and prevent strokes. There is some evidence that it may protect against some types of cancer, such as colon and cervical cancer.