Folate , All You Need to Know
Folate (folic acid) is a type of vitamin B that aids in the development and repairing of DNA. It equally helps in the production of red blood cells (RBCs) in the body. Folic acid is not stored in our fat cells unlike vitamin B12, because of its solubility in water. In essence, the body needs folic acid always since no reserve of it stored. During urinary excretion, water-soluble vitamins are released, making it an impossible mission for vitamins like folic acid to remain in the body for long.
Folic acid deficiency or insufficiency can lead to anaemia ( i.e megaloblatic anaemia), showing symptoms like; pale skin, diarrhea, breathlessness, tiredness, emotional changes and heart palpitations. Folate deficiency can equally result to child defect during pregnancy. Subtle symptoms of folate insufficiency include; growth problems, grey hair, mouth sores, fatigue and tongue swelling.
Folate deficiency is caused by poor intake or malabsorption of folate in the body. Folic acid insufficiency can occur for a number of reasons, including:
- Excessive intake of alcohol, which reduces the ability of the body to make use of folate.
- Blood conditions leading to the damage of red blood cells in the body.
- Digestive disorders resulting to inflammatory diseases, hence reducing the ability of the body to absorb folate.
- The use of certain medicines that can interfere with the level of folate in the body.
- Extra amounts of folate are normally needed during pregnancy.
Treatment involves increasing the intake of folate in our diets. To avoid folic acid deficiency, nutritious diets should be eaten, and such foods include; brussel sprouts, peas, spinach, broccoli, shellfish, poultry, fortified cereals, eggs, tomato juice, mushrooms, beans and legumes, citrus, fruits, kidney and liver meat, asparagus and wheat bran.
It is recommended that women who may become pregnant should take folate supplement, because of its importance for fetal growth. People who take drugs that cause folate deficiency, should equally take folate supplements. Seeing your doctor before any action is usually the best!
The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.