Your body requires varied minerals, water, vitamins, fats, amino acids and other elements in order for necessary body processes to take place. Your body will only grow in a healthy way if these nutrients are available in appropriate amounts. One of the important vitamins that play a vital role in your body is folic acid, which occurs naturally as folate. You may know folic acid as vitamin B9, which is also composed of gluten (glutamic, glutamate acids). You body does not use folic acid in its form but rather after it is converted into dihydrofolic acid in the liver.
Your body requires folic acid or folate (obtained from various vegetables) for the synthesis of DNA and repair of the it. Either folic acid or folate react with other vitamins such as vitamin D for other body processes to take place. Folic acid encourages fast division of your body cells and therefore their growth. This is an important process during pregnancy. Because you rely on vegetables and other cereals as sources of natural folate, you may suffer folate deficiency in case you are on a diet that does not provide adequate amounts of folate. When your body fails to obtain adequate amounts of folate, it turns on that stored in your body. Once depleted, you are likely to suffer such problems as diarrhea, anemia, nerve damage and numbness in the limb.
Folate deficiency during pregnancy presents other serious problems including pregnancy complications, depression, embryo defects, peptic/mouth ulcers and the occurrence of cancer. Because the folate your body naturally receives may not be adequate, it is always important to ensure that you supplement the same with folic acid, which is available in tablets form. You are required to take a tablet each day for a prescribed duration. It is important that you take the medication at the same time each day to maintain levels and ensure that you do not forget.
Folic acid does not only influence the intake of vitamin A, D, E and K, it is required in various vitamin and mineral functions. Folic acid and vitamin a are considered as prenatal vitamins because they are responsible for skeletal growth, teeth structure, healthy skin and eyes. Folic acid and vitamin a are good vitamins for hair, including biotin. Both folic acid and b 12 or vitamin b5 promote the utilization of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, in addition to the formation of red blood cells. It also works alongside calcium enabling iron supplements utilization and in strengthening nerves. Folic acid does not only work with minerals and vitamins, it combines with other acids such as lipoic acid and inositol. It plays a major role in the production of uric acid.
Folic acid supplementation has been found to aid in the treatment and management of various diseases and conditions. These include:
- Heart disease – Folic acid supplementation together with vitamin b6 or vitamin b 12 decreases the level of homocysteine (an amino acid) whose presence in your blood stream encourages clotting of blood in your arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Folic supplementation has also been found to eliminate the risk of unborn babies developing heart disease.
- Stroke – Folic acid and vitamin b combination has been found to reduce the risk of having stroke. This is possible because of its positive effect of reducing pulse pressure.
- Obesity – Folic acid has a role in preventing obesity and the occurrence of Type 2 diabetes.
- Depression – Clinical depression condition has been linked to inadequate levels of folic acid in the blood stream.
- Fertility – Folate is very important for fertility in both men and women.
While you may buy folic acid over the counter, which is not recommended. It is good to get a doctor’s prescription, which is issued after ascertain your acid levels. Prescription is also important because folate can react with medications you may currently be taking.