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What is folic acid (Folate ) and what is the folic acid deficiency symptoms and deficiency anemia?

folic Acid (folate)

Folate and folic acid are forms of a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate occurs naturally in food, and folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin.

Folic acid and folate are both terms for a type of B vitamin (vitamin B9). [1]

Folate is a B vitamin that occurs naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, and beans.

Folic acid is man-made (synthetic) folate. It is found in supplements and added to fortified foods.

folic Acid (folate)
folic Acid (folate)

The terms folic acid and folate are often used interchangeably.

Folic acid is water-soluble. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means your body does not store folic acid. You need to get a regular supply of the vitamin through the foods you eat or through supplements.

Since 1998, folic acid has been added to cold cereals, flour, breads, pasta, bakery items, cookies, and crackers, as required by federal law.

Foods that are naturally high in folate include leafy vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce), okra, asparagus, fruits (such as bananas, melons, and lemons) beans, yeast, mushrooms, meat (such as beef liver and kidney), orange juice, and tomato juice.

Folic acid is used for preventing and treating low blood levels of folate (folate deficiency) and high blood levels of homocysteine (hyperhomocysteinemia). Women who are pregnant or might become pregnant take folic acid to prevent miscarriage and “neural tube defects.”

These are serious birth defects such as spina bifida, when the fetal spine and back do not close in the womb. Folic acid is also used for many other conditions including depression, stroke, decline in memory and thinking skills in older people that is more than what is normal for their age, and many others.

Folic acid is often used in combination with other B vitamins.

How does it work?

Folic acid is needed for the proper development of the human body. It is involved in producing the genetic material called DNA and in numerous other bodily functions.

Folate has many functions in the body:

  • Helps tissues grow and cells work
  • Works with vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help the body break down, use, and create new proteins
  • Helps form red blood cells (helps prevent anemia)
  • Helps produce DNA, the building block of the human body, which carries genetic information

What is the folic acid (Folate ) deficiency symptoms ?

Folate deficiency may cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gray hair
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Poor growth
  • Swollen tongue (glossitis)

It may also lead to certain types of anemias.

What is folic acid (Folate ) – deficiency anemia ?

Folate-deficiency anemia is a decrease in red blood cells (anemia) due to a lack of folate. Folate is a type of B vitamin. It is also called folic acid.

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.

Causes

Folate (folic acid) is needed for red blood cells to form and grow. You can get folate by eating green leafy vegetables and liver. However, your body does not store folate in large amounts. So, you need to eat plenty of folate-rich foods to maintain normal levels of this vitamin.

In folate-deficiency anemia, the red blood cells are abnormally large. Such cells are called macrocytes. They are also called megaloblasts, when they are seen in the bone marrow. That is why this anemia is also called megaloblastic anemia.

Causes of this type of anemia include:

  • Too little folic acid in your diet
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Long-term alcoholism
  • Use of certain medicines (such as phenytoin [Dilantin], methotrexate, sulfasalazine, triamterene, pyrimethamine, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and barbiturates)

The following raise your risk for this type of anemia:

  • Alcoholism
  • Eating overcooked food
  • Poor diet (often seen in the poor, the older people, and people who do not eat fresh fruits or vegetables)
  • Pregnancy
  • Weight loss diets

Folic acid is needed to help a baby in the womb grow properly. Too little folic acid during pregnancy may lead to birth defects in a baby.

Because it’s hard to get enough folate through foods, women thinking about becoming pregnant need to take folic acid supplements. Taking the right amount of folic acid before and during pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Taking higher doses of folic acid before you get pregnant and during the first trimester may lower your chances of miscarriage.

Some of the latest research reveals the following about folic acid deficiency: [2]

  1. There may be a link between elevated homocysteine (a marker for an increased risk for arteriosclerosis) and folate deficiency.
  2. A lowering of the risk of stroke but not adverse cardiac event when hyperhomocysteinemia is corrected with folic acid
  3. Reduction in the incidence of neural tube defects with folic acid supplementation during pregnancy.
  4. Lack of folic acid during pregnancy may increase the risk of diabetes-associated congenital disabilities and autism.
  5. Maternal folic acid during pregnancy may lower the risk of childhood leukemia.
  6. Folic acid supplementation may increase the risk of cancer.

Be cautious with this combination [3]

  • Fosphenytoin (Cerebyx) interacts with FOLIC ACIDFosphenytoin (Cerebyx) is used for seizures. The body breaks down fosphenytoin (Cerebyx) to get rid of it. Folic acid can increase how quickly the body breaks down fosphenytoin (Cerebyx). Taking folic acid along with fosphenytoin (Cerebyx) might decrease the effectiveness of fosphenytoin (Cerebyx) for preventing seizures.
  • Methotrexate (MTX, Rheumatrex) interacts with FOLIC ACIDMethotrexate (MTX, Rheumatrex) works by decreasing the effects of folic acid in the body’s cells. Taking folic acid pills along with methotrexate might decrease the effectiveness of methotrexate (MTX, Rheumatrex).
  • Phenobarbital (Luminal) interacts with FOLIC ACIDPhenobarbital (Luminal) is used for seizures. Taking folic acid can decrease how well phenobarbital (Luminal) works for preventing seizures.
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin) interacts with FOLIC ACIDThe body breaks down phenytoin (Dilantin) to get rid of it. Folic acid might increase how quickly the body breaks down phenytoin (Dilantin). Taking folic acid and taking phenytoin (Dilantin) might decrease the effectiveness of phenytoin (Dilantin) and increase the possibility of seizures.
  • Primidone (Mysoline) interacts with FOLIC ACIDPrimidone (Mysoline) is used for seizures. Folic acid might cause seizure in some people. Taking folic acid can along with primidone (Mysoline) might decrease how well primidone works for preventing seizures.
  • Pyrimethamine (Daraprim) interacts with FOLIC ACIDPyrimethamine (Daraprim) is used to treat parasite infections. Folic acid might decrease the effectiveness of pyrimethamine (Daraprim) for treating parasite infections.

Which USANA Products contain folic acid (Folate )  ?

Prenatal CellSentials™ contain Folic Acid and Folate

USANA Prenatal CellSentials
USANA Prenatal CellSentials

 

[1] – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002408.htm

[2] – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535377/

[3] – https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1017/folic-acid

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