Importance of Folic Acid

The Importance of Folic Acid

Folic acid is also known as vitamin B9 and is very important during pregnancy to the developing fetus. Recent research has revealed that folic acid should be taken as a dietary supplement in the pre-pregnancy until twelve weeks of gestation completed, since this measure reduces the risk of malformation in the infant's nervous system.

Discovery of Folic Acid


Discovered since the forties in a leaf of spinach, the folic acid did not arouse interest among scientists until the seventies, when by virtue of several scientific studies was shown that it has the ability to engage in various mental process and the human body's metabolism. Previously, folic acid was associated with the renewal of blood red cells in combination with vitamin B12, which is why even today it is related to clinical anemia.

According to skilled professionals, the lack of folic acid and vitamin B12 can cause birth defects in the nervous tube closure, resulting in neurological complications and fetal spine problems that may be present just in the first weeks of pregnancy.

Research on the Importance of Folic Acid During Pregnancy


A research done in Hungary served as a starting point for experts could prevent a possible neural tube defects in the fetus. It was made a scientific study of over five thousand pregnant women in this country that led scientists to conclude that the use of folic acid in the form of vitamin supplement, decreases significantly, in infants, defects in the urinary tract, cardiovascular system and neural tube, also reducing the unpleasant symptoms associated with pregnancy like nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

It was also verified by the researchers that there is a reduction in the incidence of premature births and an improved quality of mother's milk. In Brazil, researchers reported that an average of seven hundred babies born in the country, one can have congenital anomalies, such as lack of development of the brain (anencephaly) that leads the child to death or malformations in the fetus spine known as spina bifida.

Folic Acid and Cardiovascular and Psychiatric Diseases

The American Heart Association published in a medical journal, a scientific study that demonstrated that there is a relationship between intake of folic acid and production of homocysteine, that ​​is an amino acid produced by the human body and when it undergoes the process of metabolism turns to a risk factor for formation of fatty plaques that block arteries, a process known as atherosclerosis.

Combined with vitamin B12 and vitamin B, folic acid is involved in homocysteine ​​metabolism. Scientific studies have revealed that excess of this substance can cause the onset of cardiovascular diseases and in severe cases venous or arterial thrombosis, which can cause the affected individual to develop a heart attack. This same study also showed that the effects caused by folic acid in the human body varies over one person's life.

For example, in childhood the lack may lead to nutritional anemia, as in older adults, as folic acid has an influence on the nervous system, if there is a low intake of it a few neurological and psychiatric disorders may be aggravated.

Folic Acid Properties

According to specialist researchers in the field of nutrition and Nutrology the main properties of folic acid are:

  • Has the function of assisting in the division of cells in the human body and the transmission of hereditary characteristics, besides the formation and maturation of leukocytes and erythrocytes (blood cells);
  • Folic acid's main sources are the following foods: leafy green vegetables, liver, yeast, spinach, carrots and egg yolk;
  • Its deficiency in humans can lead to reduced growth, gastrointestinal tract disorders, glossitis, blood disorders such as megaloblastic anemia, for example, and its excess in the body can interfere with the action of drugs such as anticonvulsants.

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