What is folate and what is folic acid?
Before we start discussing folic acid deficiency, the first thing we should know- what is folic acid, what is folate, and the differences between the two.
Folic acid is a particular type of B vitamin that is usually found in a few food items. These folic acid foods include:
peas, dried beans, lentils, whole-wheat products, oranges, Brussels sprouts, liver, beets, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach.
Well, we will shed some light on this folic acid food later.
Folate deficiency and Vitamin B9
Folic acid helps our body generate and sustain new cells and prevent alterations to DNA that may cause cancer.
As a suppository, folic acid supplements treat low folic acid symptoms and a few types of anemia caused by folic acid deficiency.
- Folic acid and folate are two different forms of Vitamin B9. Folic acid is the synthetic form of the Vitamin, while folate is the natural form of Vitamin B9.
- The side effects when folate levels low may include elevated homocysteine, congenital disabilities, and even cancer.
Vitamin B9 is directly related to cell regeneration, cell growth, and DNA formation.
Folic acid is particularly significant in women of gestation age. Folate deficiency during pregnancy can cause congenital disabilities.
For these causes, taking vitamin B9 as a supplement or folic acid tablet is a common practice.
Folic acid for pregnant
Taking folic acid tab or taking folate foods is obligatory in many countries, including Canada and the United States.
Since supplementing folic acid for pregnant women can prevent any cell-related issues or congenital disabilities of the unborn, a few conscious countries made it mandatory.
Most people get abundant folate from food. Many foodstuffs now have supplementary folate in the form of folic acid, to prevent a shortage. Nevertheless, supplements are endorsed by doctors for females who may become pregnant. If you don’t have sufficient folate in your regular diet, you may suffer from folate deficiency.
Certain foods and drinks, such as dark green vegetables and citrus juices, are particularly good folate foods or sources.
Low folic acid symptoms
Not eating sufficient folate can lead to a deficit in just a few weeks. If you already have any health issues related to genetic mutation or something chronic, then these folic acid low issues will be more severe because your body will not be able to absorb or convert folic acid in a usable form.
Folate deficiency can cause anemia. Anemia is a disorder in which you have a very little amount of RBCs. Anemia can disrupt the oxygen flow in cells because RBCs transmit the oxygen. We have already talked about the low folic acid symptoms that may signal to the folic acid low. But most of the symptoms related to folic acid deficiency are very subtle. These subtle symptoms may include
greying hair, tongue swelling, unexplainable fatigue. If you are already suffering from folic acid deficiency, then you can notice the symptoms- Persistent exhaustion, feebleness, pale skin, fatigue, shortness of breath, and irritability.
Why supplements full of folate serum are important?
A few more issues are directly related to folate levels low, such as an increased risk of depression and meager response to antidepressant cure.
Folate deficiency has been connected to depression in an individual with epilepsy, and folic acid supplementation could help treat low mood.
A folic acid tab has not been recommended as a cure in itself for depression, but it may improve response to antidepressants like fluoxetine, particularly in women.
The elevated levels of homocysteine are related to an amplified risk of cardiovascular disease; some scholars have recommended that folic acid may reduce the risk of cardiovascular ailment.
Folate or folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. It liquefies in water and can’t be stored in fat cells. That means that you are required to keep taking folate, as the body can’t cultivate a reserve.
That is why taking folate acid foods, and supplements full of folate serum is so much important.
More about folate deficiency
Now that you already have a fair idea about what folic acid is and how folic acid side effects can be damaging, let’s talk about what are the causes of folate deficiency in a bit elaborate way.
- The first thing that can cause folic acid low is an unbalanced diet. Most of us are guilty of choosing our food options, unconsciously, and thoughtlessly.
- A diet low in vegetables, fresh fruits, and fortified cereals is the main reason for folate deficiency. Apart from that, overcooking your food can occasionally destroy the vitamins.
Diseases that disturb absorption in the gastrointestinal tract can be a cause of folate deficiencies. These diseases include- celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, certain types of cancers, and severe kidney problems.
Some individuals have a genetic mutation that hampers their body function and efficiency of converting dietary to its usable form, methylfolate. A few medicines can cause folic acid deficiency, as well. These include- trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, phenytoin (Dilantin), sulfasalazine, and methotrexate. A few lifestyle choices also hinder or body’s natural function, such as Alcoholism. Too much intake of alcohol may increase the excretion of folate through urine.
Treatment for folic acid efficiency involves increasing the dietary consumption of folate. You can also take a folic acid tablet or folic acid supplement.
People with a genetic mutation or MTHFR require to take methylated folate to avoid deficiency. Folate is often combined with some other B vitamins in supplements.
- These are commonly known as vitamin B complexes. The recommended folic acid dose is 400 mg per day. If you have MTHFR, you should evade foods that are fortified with folic acid. Specific variants of this genetic mutation avert the breakdown of folic acid to methylfolate. People who take medicines known to trigger folate deficiency should take a folate supplement as well, but it’s significant to check with your doctor first.
Folic acid side effects
High consumption of folic acid may cause increased blood levels of unmetabolized folic acid. Folic Acid side effects or uncontrolled folic acid intake may be the reason for seizures, and an increased risk of the development of certain cancers. Nutritional levels of folate have not been allied with any adverse effects.
Intake of folate more than 1000 mcg for adults and 800 mcg for those aged 18 years can cause serious damage. So consulting with a doctor is the best thing you can do. Some scholars speculate that this may have adverse health effects over time, but additional studies are required before conclusions can be drawn.