Folic Acid - Uses, Benefits, Sources and Dosage
Folic acid offers the incredible health benefits. It plays a vital role for various body functions. Folic acid is the form of water soluble B9 vitamin. It is also known as the folate and vitamin B9. It plays the major role in the synthesis and repair of nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) as well as in the formation of red blood cells. It is necessary to consume folic acid everyday because our body can't store it. It is important for the women who are pregnant or planning to have a baby as it helps to prevent the birth defects. Folic acid plays a vital role for various body functions. Health benefits of folic acids are discussed in detail below.
Benefits of Folic Acid
- Normal Fetal Development – It plays an important role for the normal fetal development because folic acid deficiency may lead to the neural tube defects.
- Sperm health - Folic acids offers the good sperm health and sperm motility.
- Heart health - It helps to metabolize homocysteine into methionine which is an essential amino acid. This breakdown of homocysteine by folate helps to resolve the cardiovascular complications.
- Normal cholesterol levels – It helps in the reduction of LDL cholesterol levels in the body.
- Neurological support – It helps to maintain the good neural health. It is good for the memory loss and Alzheimer disease.
- It also reduces the risk of muscular degeneration.
Natural Sources of Folic Acid
- Citrus fruits
- Kidney beans
- Egg yolk
- Brussel sprouts
- Sunflower seeds
- Many fruits like papaya and kiwi have moderate amounts of folic acids.
Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia
When people don't get enough amounts of folic acid they suffer from anemia. Where as in the case pregnant women, folic acid deficiency results in the birth defects.
The signs and symptoms associated with folic acid deficiency are given below:-
- Weakness in body
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Folic acids deficiency also results in other health complications like:-
- Increased risk of heart attack.
- Increased risk of stroke.
- Increased risk of cancer like stomach cancer.
- Increased risk of male infertility.
- Higher risk of allergic disease.
- Reduced bone density.
Side Effects of Folic Acid
Higher intake of folic acid increases the risk of developing cancer of rectum or colon.
Excessive intake of folic acid also leads to:-
- Skin reactions
- Loss of appetite
Daily Recommendations of Folic Acid
- For 0-6 months requirement is 65mcg (micrograms)
- For 7-12 months requirement is 80 mcg.
- For 1-3 years requirement is 150 mcg.
- For 4-8 years requirement is 200 mcg.
- For 9-13 years requirement is 300 mcg.
- For 14-18 years requirement is 400 mcg.
- For Males and females 19 years and above requirement is 400 mcg.
- For pregnant women folic acid requirement is 600 mcg.
- For breastfeeding women folic acid requirement is 500 mcg.