Folate Health Benefits: Folic Acid Deficiency and Vitamin B9 Rich Foods
What is Folic Acid? (Folate)
Folic Acid is synthesized folate. Folate is vitamin B9 and it exists naturally in a variety of foods, primarily fruits and green leafy vegetables. It is also found in enriched grains and cereals.
- Folic Acid is man made.
- Folate occurs naturally.
- Vitamin B9 (folate) supports DNA production and aids in the conversion of food to energy.
Why do we need folic acid? (Folate)
Folate is vital for the development and function of cells and tissues. Folate is necessary for new cell growth (rapid cell division). It is especially important during pregnancy as it aids in fetal development. Women usually do not get all the folic acid we need through diet alone. Taking folic acid during pregnancy may aid in preventing spina bifida and anencephaly
Folate maintain our DNA and RNA and can help the body avoid cancer. Folate also plays an important role in metabolism and helps the body maintain amino acid levels.
Also, folate works in-conjunction with vitamin C and B12 to break down proteins.
Health Benefits of Folic Acid
- May reduce the risk of colon cancer
- May reduce the risk of cervical cancer
- May prevent heart disease
- May prevent or reduce the risk of stroke
- May slow memory loss
- May aid in slowing the effects of Alzheimer's
- May prevent macular degeneration
- May improve sleep issues or insomnia
- May help reduce depression
- May aid in reducing restless leg syndrome
- Used in the treatment of vitiligo
- Used topically to improve gum issues
Do you lack folate? Symptoms of folic acid deficiency
- Mouth Ulcers
- Peptic Ulcers
- Growth Inadequacies
- Glossitis: Swelling of the tongue
- Heart Palpitations
- Weakness and Fatigue
- Weight Loss
The following are rich sources of folate:
- Dark Leafy Vegetables: Spinach
- Legumes: Especially dried beans and peas
- Fortified Breakfast Cereals
- Wheat Germ
Moderate Sources Include:
- Enriched Pasta: Macaroni
- Enriched Rice
- Enriched Bread
- Mixed Berries
Disorders and Conditions Requiring more Folate / Folic Acid
- Patients undergoing kidney dialysis
- Patients with Liver Disease
Side Effects of Too much Folic Acid
- stomach cramps
- may cause nerve damage
University of Maryland Medical Center
Office of Dietary Supplements: National Institutes of Health
Escott-Stump S, ed. Nutrition and Diagnosis-Related Care. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.
Zittoun J. Anemias due to disorder of folate, vitamin B12 and transcobalamin metabolism.
Bialostosky K, Wright JD, Kennedy-Stephenson J, McDowell M, Johnson CL. Dietary intake of macronutrients, micronutrients and other dietary constituents:
Sarubin Fragaakis A, Thomson C. The Health Professional's Guide to Popular Dietary Supplements. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: American Dietetic Association; 2007.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this hub should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. However, all information is research based. Please consult a physician for medical and dietary advice and treatment. Folate or folic acid deficiency should not be assumed or treated without the supervision of a medical professional.
© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares