Vitamin B9, usually called folic acid, has long been known to reduce the risk of spinal birth defects. It is also necessary for healthy red blood cells. Also believed to help suppress allergic reactions and lessen the severity of asthma symptoms.
Folic acid is involved in the replication of DNA and RNA. It helps to keep levels of homocysteine down in our blood, which in turn is thought to help reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases, and different kinds of dementia. And because folic acid is used in the DNA replication process its of great importance in the prevention of certain kinds of birth defects.
The majority of U.S. women of childbearing age do not comply with government requirements to take a daily supplement of folic acid.
Folic acid and folate are two forms of vitamin B-9, and sufficient levels are required for the proper development of the fetal nervous system. Low maternal levels of folate can cause neural tube defects, including brain and spine abnormalities that can lead to disability or death.
A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience showed a diet rich in folic acid can also protect the brain from damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The study was conducted by the National Institute of Aging, and showed folic acid aids in the repair of DNA damage that occurs in the brain. This damage is linked to Alzheimer’s. Folic acid also lowers the levels of homocysteine in the blood, and high levels of homocysteine can nearly double the risk of Alzheimer’s. Folic acid is a B-vitamin found in leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits.
The recommended daily amount of folic acid for the average adult is about four hundred mcg. Those who are pregnant, could become pregnant or are lactating should get between six hundred and eight hundred mcg. in their diet daily.
Folic Acid deficiencies can cause a myriad of health problems. Among them are ulcerations in the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, peptic ulcers and chronic diarrhea. Folic acid deficiency can also contribute to certain kinds of anemia.
It’s possible to find folic acid in a variety of foods such as, asparagus, bananas, beans, whole wheat and wheat broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, citrus, lettuce, liver, oatmeal, oysters, potatoes, rice, salmon, spinach, and baker’s yeast. Each of these foods has folic acid in varying amounts, for example liver has the highest amount at one hundred and seventy four mcg. and one medium banana has twenty mcg. of folic acid.
It can be very difficult to get enough of any nutrients in the modern diet. Farmers pump up their produce with fertilizers and so that the average person needs to eat more in order to get the same amount of nutrients. Also many vitamins can’t hold up under heat and pressure and they are lost through the cooking process. possible to lose between twenty five and seventy five percent of the folic acid in raw food once its cooked. The canning process for vegetables today destroys many vitamins due to the extreme heat and the pressure. So a canned vegetable isn’t going to have as much folic acid as a raw vegetable.
Or a person may simply not be able to keep track of how much of what should and should not be eaten for optimum health. To this end many choose to take a daily multivitamin which contains some or all of the daily requirements for a variety of nutrients.
As a water soluble nutrient, folic acid actually goes out of a person’s body quite easily since it practically exits the body through the urine which is why the amount of folic acid in the body should always be replaced so as to not suffer from the consequences brought about the lack of folic acid. It is highly recommendable to actually consider taking some folic acid supplements to ensure that our bodies’ folic acid levels are always replenished. This holds especially true for expectant mothers who need to ensure the good health of the babies that they’re carrying. Like they always say, better safe than sorry.