Folic acid (Vitamin B9)
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. Part of the B complex - known as vitamin B9. Folic acid is involved in many processes essential for life. It is particularly important during pregnancy, as folic acid is needed for the proper development of the baby's glands and spinal cord.
It also plays a role in the formation of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to places of use, and an insufficient red blood cell count can lead to an oxygen-deficient condition (anaemia). There is a separate condition: anaemia from folic acid deficiency. In addition, folic acid plays a role in the production and repair of DNA and thus in the division of our body cells. Also in the metabolism of proteins.
Because of its role in the development of the baby, a mother's folic acid deficiency can lead to birth defects. The spine, which is the first to form from the embryo, is therefore critical in the early stages of pregnancy.
Folic acid also has strong antioxidant properties, so it protects against free radicals that damage cells. This can help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases affecting the cardiovascular, nervous and haematopoietic systems.
Symptoms of folic acid deficiency can include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Heart palpitations, increased pulse
- Changes in the colour of tongue, hair, skin and nails
Risk of folate deficiency:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Metabolic disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Celiac disease
- Genetic disease: affecting the MTHFR gene
- Because of its health effects, the FDA has mandated that manufacturers add folic acid to many foods.
Folic acid is found in the following foods:
- Beef liver
- Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach
- Peanuts, black-eyed peas and kidney beans
Recommended folic acid intake for men and women: 400 mcg. During pregnancy: 600 mcg. During breastfeeding: 500 mcg
Before taking folic acid, talk to your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- Type 2 diabetes
- 2 diabetes mellitus 2.2 diabetes mellitus
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Inflammation of the bowel, irritable bowel syndrome
- Celiac disease