by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
You may have most likely had folic acid in your physique this week and even proper earlier than studying this text, as it may be present in numerous on a regular basis meals. Folic acid is the artificial type of folate, which is a pure supply of vitamin B in your physique.
You could find folic acid within the following meals:
- chilly cereals
- bakery gadgets
Meals which can be naturally excessive in folate embrace:
- leafy veggies
- some fruits
- animal liver and kidney
- orange juice
- tomato juice
You may also take folic acid as a complement, and they’re usually used together with different B nutritional vitamins.
On this article, we are going to dive deeper into folic acid and its advantages for well being.
Disclaimer: This text is for informational functions solely and isn’t meant to deal with or diagnose any situation. It is strongly recommended that you just communicate together with your physician earlier than altering your vitamin plan or including any dietary supplements to your routine.
What’s Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a B vitamin. It’s also generally known as folate, vitamin B9, and vitamin M. Folic acid helps the physique make new cells and retains the immune system wholesome. It’s also necessary for girls who’re pregnant or making an attempt to conceive as a result of it helps stop delivery defects of the child’s mind and backbone (neural tube defects). Folic acid helps our physique produce and keep new cells. It additionally prevents modifications to DNA that may result in most cancers and different sicknesses.
Folic acid is discovered naturally in leafy inexperienced greens, beans and peas, citrus fruits, potatoes, enriched grains, and cereals. Folic acid may also be added to some meals, comparable to flour. Folks could have to take folic acid dietary supplements in the event that they don’t get sufficient from meals of their weight-reduction plan.
Is Folate and Folic Acid the Similar Factor?
That is really an awesome query and one thing many individuals ask. Let’s look into issues somewhat additional.
Folate is a naturally occurring B vitamin that helps your physique kind pink blood cells and might help struggle anemia. It’s present in leafy inexperienced greens, beans, citrus fruits, and dried fruit.
Folic acid is the artificial type of folate, which is used to fortify meals comparable to cereal and bread. Along with its function in pink blood cell formation, folic acid performs an important function in mind growth throughout being pregnant and infancy.
The distinction between folate and folic acid is that they’ve totally different chemical constructions. Folate happens naturally in meals, whereas folic acid is produced by including an artificial type of vitamin to meals or dietary supplements.
The Advantages of Folic Acid
Listed here are a number of the attainable advantages of folic acid:
1. Helps stop neural tube defects in infants
The fortification of folic acid helps stop neural tube irregularities in infants. Folic acid dietary supplements might help to cease tube irregularities, together with anencephaly and spina bifida. When you get sufficient folic acid throughout being pregnant, it reduces the possibilities of your child being born with one in every of these circumstances. Moreover stopping fetal growth points, folic acid dietary supplements additionally cut back the danger of being pregnant issues comparable to preeclampsia.
When you’re planning to get pregnant or already are pregnant, speak to your physician about taking a multivitamin containing 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid day-after-day for at the least one month earlier than conception via the primary trimester of being pregnant.
2. Helps with temper issues
Folic acid dietary supplements could cut back depressive signs. Folate is required within the mind to synthesize serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Taking folic acid dietary supplements together with different antidepressants could enhance signs in some individuals with melancholy.
In keeping with a 2022 assessment of research, it was proven that folic acid and folate dietary supplements may assist decrease signs of psychological well being points, comparable to schizophrenia, postpartum melancholy, and bipolar dysfunction.
3. Promotes coronary heart well being
Folic acid has been proven to scale back the danger of coronary heart illness by decreasing homocysteine ranges, that are related to an elevated danger for coronary heart illness. Folic acid may also cut back blood stress and homocysteine ranges in individuals with excessive ldl cholesterol or diabetes.
A 2016 examine discovered that individuals who used folic acid dietary supplements have been 10% much less more likely to expertise stroke and 4% much less more likely to have some other type of coronary heart difficulty.
4. Good for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis
In at present’s time, medical doctors use folic acid dietary supplements to assist methotrexate prescriptions for rheumatoid arthritis.
Methotrexate is a vital and efficient treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, however it might take away folate from the physique, which ends up in gastrointestinal signs.
Research present that taking folic acid dietary supplements may cut back these unwanted effects by roughly 79%.
5. Maintains mind well being
As we develop previous, we are inclined to have decreased mind capability, and folic acid has been proven to enhance temper and cognitive perform, which implies it has a optimistic impression on our mind well being.
Sufficient folate consumption could assist defend in opposition to Alzheimer’s. In keeping with a 2019 examine involving 180 adults with gentle cognitive impairment, taking 400 mcg of folic acid dietary supplements per day for 2 years improved measures of mind perform and lowered blood ranges of proteins which will result in Alzheimer’s.