The first most important step to do when you get pregnant, is checking out for vitamins and minerals deficiency, especially folic acid deficiency to guarantee your fetus’ safety. What is folic acid? Why is it so important? What are the symptoms of folic acid deficiency? How to recover from it? What are the folic acid side effects? If you are looking for answers to these questions, this article might be helpful.
What is folic acid?
Folic acid or folate is an essential B vitamin (B9). It helps build DNA and cells of brain, organs, skin bone marrow and bones; and supports nerve and immune function. When you are pregnant, it is not enough to eat folate-rich foods but also eat health supplements.
Folic Acid Quantity intake:
-300 microgram/day for children
-400 microgram/day for teenagers
-600 microgram/day for pregnant
-500 microgram/day for breastfeeders
Why should you start with folic acid intake before pregnancy?
Folic acid is quite helpful during the preconception period and during pregnancy. It is widely used to prevent any birth defects that your fetus might be vulnerable to, during the first pregnancy weeks, even before you discover about your pregnancy. Moreover, it increases the chances of conceiving.
Why is it important?
The importance of folic acid is derived from its abundance of health benefits. It is important because it:
1- Helps in preventing a lot of congenital malformations such as heart, throat and lips malformations and neural cord defects (brain and spinal cord malformation).
Note: A study published in “The lancet” that women with folate deficiency are at risk of giving birth to a baby with neural tube defects likely as with Down syndrome.
2- Helps in proper brain functioning.
3- Cures depression and improve mood parameter.
4- Can make and repair DNA.
5- Helps in digestion and use of proteins.
6- Helps produce new protein when required.
7- Helps in eliminating toxins from the body and reducing acne on the face.
8- Renews the cells that aid the growth of hair.
9- Helps red blood cells form and grow. (Preventing Anemia)
10- Helps in keeping your skin moisturized and healthy with a natural glow.
11- Helps improve the firmness of the skin. (Reducing signs of skin age)
12- Prevents heart diseases.
13- Prevents cancer cells from multiplying.
14- Protects from colon cancer, cervical cancer and pancreatic cancer.
15- Helps in preventing memory loss due to aging.
16- Helps in handling obesity
17- Prevents type 2 diabetes
18- Helps in conception
19- Cures gum infections
20- Prevents cognitive decline.
21- Reduces the risks of stroke.
22- Prevents macular degeneration.
23- Helps in treating vitiligo.
24- Improves sleep.
25- Helps in reducing leg syndrome.
What Causes Folic Acid Deficiency?
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. It dissolves in water and easily released in urine. That is why you need to keep taking folate because your body cannot develop a reserve.
Keep in mind you might be at higher risk of folate deficiency than others, in case you are:
suffering from Anemia
with liver disease
on kidney dialysis
taking birth control pills
taking methotrexate to treat cancer
using diuretics or laxatives for excessive weight loss
having genetic mutation that prevents your body from converting folate to its usable form
What Are The Symptoms of Folate Acid Deficiency?
Folic acid deficiency can lead to the following:
Pure immune function (frequent illness)
Poor hair growth
Poor digestion (IBS)
Loss of appetite
Shortness of breath
Premature grey hair
Mood swings and bad temper
Painful sore tongue
Fetus developmental problem during pregnancy
How Is Folic Acid Deficiency Diagnosed?
You can diagnose folate deficiency through blood test.
How to recover from folic acid deficiency?
For you to treat folate deficiency, you should increase intake of folate and folic acid supplements.
Foods with high amounts of folate:
– fresh fruits (such as citrus fruits, raspberries, avocado, strawberries, papaya and cantaloupe),
– vegetables (artichokes)
– leafy greens (spinach and broccoli)
– nuts (peanuts)
– seeds (Sunflower seeds and sesame),
– legumes (lentils, red beans and peas).
– fish and shellfish
– tomato juice
– Brussel sprout
– fortified cereals,
– mushrooms and dairy products
– kidney and liver meat
– wheat bran
– black-eyed peas
Foods with moderate amounts of folic acid:
• Romaine Lettuce
• Enriched bread
• Mixed berries
• Yellow melon
• wheat germs
Folic acid over dose side effects
Both lack and excess of folic acid intake can be harmful to your body. Improper amount of folic acid in the body causes the following:
-Patchy and dry skin
Folic acid is particularly very important for you during your childbearing age. Not eating enough folic acid can lead to a folic acid deficiency in just a few weeks. Therefore, try to eat a proper nutritious diet and take folic acid supplements. But always remember to check with your doctor before taking any type of vitamin and mineral supplements.
Now are you taking proper amount of folic acid?