Folic Acid uses benefits and side effects

What Is Folic Acid?

Folic Acid, as well as Folate, is a form of Vitamin B, only this one is water-soluble. While folate can be easily found naturally in some foods, Folic Acid can only be obtained through the folate synthesize process. Despite being known for quite some time, Folic Acid has only been added to our diets only recently if we could say that. The first year that the, Folic Acid has started being used on a larger scale was 1998 when it was added to a whole range of products. Folic Acid is known to be quite effective in anemia, tackling not only the regular disease but also its complicated forms. It can also be used as a prevention method. Also, Folic Acid can also be quite effective in protecting the pregnant women against miscarriage and all sorts of unwanted birth defects that can occur in some cases, such as spina bifida.

Sources of Folic Acid

This vitamin can be found in a lot of foods and most of them are within your reach. Here are the most common and those that can deliver the larger quantities of Folic AcidȘ

  • Leafy vegetables – here we must include spinach, broccoli and lettuce among others
  • Okra
  • Asparagus
  • Fruits – lemons, bananas, melons
  • Beans
  • Deficiency of Folic Acid
  • Meat – including especially beef liver and kidney
  • Orange juice
  • Tomato juice
  • Mushrooms

Deficiency of Folic Acid

The most important symptom of Folic Acid deficiency is anemia and this happens quite often in fact, especially in young. Other than that, there are not many ways through which Folic Acid deficiency can affect your organism. This is why most of the supplements containing this vitamin are especially designed to counter anemia and even prevent it in some cases.

Benefits of Folic Acid

There are plenty of benefits that Folic Acid will provide you with and we will separate them into three categories based on their likelihood.

  1. Highly effective

Used in counter folate deficiency. As we have already mentioned, this vitamin is mostly used in rectifying your folate deficiencies and does so pretty effective.

  1. Likely effective
  • Kidney affections – It is pretty common that most of those suffering from kidney diseases will implicitly have a high level of homocysteine and this has been a constant symptom of heart diseases later on, many of them leading to stroke. If Folic Acid has been proven to regulate the levels of homocysteine, same cannot be said about this vitamin preventing the collateral strokes or hearth conditions.
  • Is extremely effective in reducing the harmful effects of methotrexate, a medicine that is known to have severe side effects. These side effects include nausea and vomiting and these are successfully tackled by taking Folic Acid supplementation.
  • It can correct birth defects in incipient phases but also prevent them from occurring in the first place.
  1. Possibly effective
  • Depression – there are not that many studies confirming this point, but the results are there. Also, it seems like Folic Acid improves the efficiency of antidepressants.
  • High blood pressure – After the first 6 weeks of Folic Acid treatment, the blood pressure will certainly drop and the condition of the patient will improve noticeably.
  • Gum problems when the culprit is phenytoin. Folic Acid will reduce the gum problems in these cases.
  • Vision loss – This affection is called age-related macular degeneration and researchers have managed to link the Folic Acid consumption with the improvement regarding this affection.
  • Vitiligo – this is a skin condition that is also efficiently tackled by this vitamin.
  1. Presumably effective

This category contains those illnesses that are believed to be fought against using Folic Acid, but there are no definitive results or researchers that would definitely claim one thing or another. Among these conditions we need to mention Alzheimer, blood vessel blockage after angioplasty, bipolar disorder, cervical cancer, memory and thinking skills in older people, colorectal cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, stomach cancer, gout, hearing loss, male infertility, lung cancer, chest pain, cleft lip, pancreatic cancer, restless leg syndrome, sickle-cell disease, cancer coming from ulcerative colitis, liver disease, alcoholism, weak bones, osteoporosis. While these affections could not be related to Folic Acid in one way or another, intensive studies are being carried in order to clarify these aspects.

Side Effects of Folic Acid

There are actually plenty of side effects coming from uneducated Folic Acid consumptions and there are a lot of symptoms that you should keep an eye for. In case of complications the best thing that you can do is to consult a specialist. This way you can avoid any further damages. Among the most dangerous side effects related to Folic Acid intakes are:

  • Gastrointestinal problems – although they seem to be quite rare, these problems are known to be linked with Folic Acid consumptions and the most encountered manifestations are: nausea, abdominal distention, flatulence, bitter taste and anorexia.
  • Nervous system failures – These problems include sleep disturbances, irritability, anxiety, concentration issues, depression, impaired judgment and confusion. Also, further investigations have associated Folic Acid high consumptions with an increased seizure activity in those patients suffering from epilepsy.
  • Hypersensitivity – this is also a rather rare problem, but it occurs nonetheless. Among the most encountered side effects we need to include: rash, pruritus, malaise, erythema, dyspnea with bronchospasm and anaphylaxis. Although this last case has been encountered only once so far.
  • Metabolic problems – Among the most common side effects are related to the zinc absorption impairments. It seems like Folic Acid impairs the proper zinc assimilation.

Other Application of Folic Acid

Regarding its side usages, Folic Acid is an essential vitamin in the clinical pharmacology.

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