Folic Acid Definition
This is a soluble complex form of vitamin B. Folic acid is an essential micronutrient found in high concentrations in green leafy vegetables, hence the name folic acid. It is also known as pteroylmonoglutamate.
Folic Acid Sources
Folic acid is present in different foods and as vitamin supplements. Foods rich in this form of vitamin B include;
- Green leafy vegetables – Spinach, kales, brussels sprouts, cabbage.
- Whole grains – Whole wheat, brown rice, oats, millet.
- Animal liver
- Legumes – Cooked kidney beans, lentils.
- Fruits – Oranges, banana
- Fortified foods such as bread grains.
- Brewers yeast.
Folic Acid Supplements
Supplements have a high concentration of folic acid. They are mainly prescribed to and used by pregnant women, e.g.
- Folic Acid 5mg Tablets
However, our trusted researches also show that supplements can be used by patients receiving antifolate chemotherapy to reduce drug toxicity.
Folic Acid Benefits
Pteroylmonoglutamate has numerous health and nutritional benefits. They include;
- Used to treat folate deficiency and anemia.
- May help with gum health and appearance, especially in pregnant women
- It helps the body produce red blood cells.
- Folic acid lowers the risk of stomach cancer.
- It may help prevent DNA changes.
- Folic acid is effective in lowering blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure.
- It helps to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Help reduce toxicity and side effects of drugs e.g. methotrexate.
Folic Acid Dosage
The recommended nutrient intake (RDI) for folic acid is 400mcg for men and 360mcg for females per day. Breastfeeding women require 260mg of the nutrient daily.
However, some people require higher doses of folic acid, e.g.
- Pregnant women- they require about 600mcg per day.
- Females who have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect.
- Epileptic patients.
- People with diabetes.
Folic Acid In Pregnancy Dose
Pregnant women have an RNI of 300mg. Nevertheless, folic acid supplements should be consumed daily, from before conception and through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy for optimum results.
Folic Acid Deficiency
Pteroylmonoglutamate deficiency is the most prevalent vitamin deficiency in the world. It is characterized by low folic acid levels in the blood.
It is caused by;
Low intake of vegetables and foods rich in pteroylmonoglutamate.
Deficiency in children may result in megaloblastic anemia.
People at the risk of deficiency
- People who do not eat healthy
- Pregnant women
- Patients with kidney problems.
- Serious alcoholics.
- Seizure patients.
- Poor growth.
- Abnormal cervical smear in women.
- Taking folic acid supplements for at least 2 months.
- Ingesting diet rich in folic acid.
- Using methylated folate supplement to help with malabsorption.
Folic Acid Overdose
According to our trusted research, the tolerable Upper Limit(UL) for pteroylmonoglutamate is;
- 600 micrograms for children up to 13 yrs
- 1000 micrograms adults above 19 yrs
Exceeding this limit results in overdose and can have serious side effects.
Side effects of Folic acid overdose
- Can interact with medicines and block their effects, e.g. seizure medicine_phenytoin.
- Increased seizure attacks by epileptic patients.
- May hide serious symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Folic Acid Before Pregnancy
Health experts advise expecting females to take folic acid supplements two-three months before they conceive. This is important as it reduces the risk of poor growth of the baby.
Lack of pteroylmonoglutamate during pregnancy increases the risk of the baby having birth defects involving the spinal cord and brain e.g. spina bifida, anencephaly.
Folic Acid In Pregnancy
A healthy diet does not have enough amount of folic acid for the fetus, thus the use of supplements is necessary. This nutrient is essential in the development of the nervous system and proper growth of the fetus.
Folic Acid Supplements In Pregnancy
Supplements such as multivitamin tablets can be beneficial to pregnant women by;
- Reducing the risk of neural tube defects in the baby.
- Lowering the risk of early child labor.
- Facilitate the proper growth and development of the fetus.
- Reducing the risk of miscarriage.
Folic Acid Benefits For Men
- Folic acid supplements, when taken with Zinc, can increase male sperm count.
- It helps the body break down, use, and create new proteins which may reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
- It can help retain memory and prevent memory loss in old age.
- Reduces the risk for certain cancers e.g. esophageal cancer and colon cancer.
- It helps reduce depression.
Folic Acid Vegan
Vegans often have higher pteroylmonoglutamate levels compared to omnivores and vegetarians. This is because green leafy vegetables are the highest source of folic acid. Animal and animal products have the least amount of pteroylmonoglutamate, however, the animal liver has a high concentration of these nutrients.
Folic Acid For Hair Growth
Folic acid is essential for the growth and development of cells. This property enables pteroylmonoglutamate supplements to improve the keratin structure of hair thus ensure healthy and strong hair.
Is Folic Acid The Same As Folate
Folate is an essential vitamin also referred to as vitamin B9/folacin. It is the natural form of folic acid. Whereas, folic acid is a man-made form of vitamin B9 that is converted to folate by the body for its numerous benefits.
Folate deficiency may aggravate vitiligo disease.
Folic Acid B12
These two vitamins are examples of complex vitamins. They are important for optimum body functioning and for normal growth. Deficiency of these nutrients results in megaloblastic anemia.
Beef liver is the best food source for both folic acid and vitamin B12
Folic Acid Vs Methylfolate
Methylfolate is the purest, active form of vitamin B9 that is easily absorbed and metabolized by the body. It is taken as a supplement and helps the body function at its best. Specific body genes help convert folic acid to L-methylfolate for readily absorption. Since folic acid is absorbed slowly, methylfolate supplement is recommended for folate-deficient patients.
Folic Acid Nature Made
This is a form of pteroylmonoglutamate supplement. It is often taken by women of childbearing age. It is United States Pharmacopeia verified, as it is safe and highly effective in restoring folic acid levels.
Folic Acid Recommendations
Medical experts recommend high folic acid intake of;
- 400 mcg per day for women who can conceive.
- Levels above 1000 mcg per day for women with a history of miscarriage.
- 600 mcg per day for pregnant women.
- Folic acid supplementation in addition to taking foods rich in folate.
- Levels above 1000 mcg for people with deficient folic acid metabolism enzyme.