Vitamin B9 (folate or folic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in many processes in the body. What are the functions of folic acid? What food is available? How to avoid deficit? Here are the details.
Vitamin B9 (folate or folic acid) plays a very important role in the body. It helps in the healthy functioning of the blood, participates in the process of cell division and growth. It is also essential for the production of normal red blood cells and for the synthesis of DNA, the genetic material of cells. Folate is also essential for the normal development of the fetal nervous system. It should be taken in adequate amounts before and during pregnancy.
It has protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. However, lack of a balanced diet rich in vitamin B9 is common because this vitamin is very fragile and different cooking methods destroy it.
Why is folic acid important?
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B-vitamin group. It is also called folate or folic acid. Its role is important in metabolic processes and growth.
Folic acid is essential for cell regeneration and the formation of blood cells in the bone marrow. In addition, it is necessary for protein absorption. It is also essential for the proper development of the fetus by participating in the formation of the nervous system and the development of genetic information. Lack of folic acid during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage.
Folic acid is also beneficial during menopause. Research shows that it can contribute to the relief of disorders that occur during menopause. Folic acid has been shown to reduce hot flashes.
Folic acid is also essential for the formation of red and white blood cells, so a deficiency can often lead to anemia. Also, folic acid is required for the metabolism of homocysteine, which has a negative effect on blood vessels and can cause heart disease. Therefore, folic acid is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and metabolism.
Causes of folic acid deficiency
Deficiencies often occur due to unbalanced diet or increased demand for folic acid. This vitamin, which is mainly stored in the liver and only in small amounts, must be taken regularly in the diet. Folic acid is found in plant and animal foods and is better absorbed by the body when taken from animal foods. Also, since it is very sensitive to heat, foods containing it must be prepared very carefully.
Pregnant women, growing children and those suffering from malabsorption due to illness An increased need for folic acid. Considering its importance for cell and DNA development, it is recommended to take folic acid before pregnancy.
Chronic diseases such as high alcohol consumption, medications (such as antibiotics, birth control pills or antiretroviral drugs), diabetes and diseases of the digestive system Deficits may occur.
Since folic acid is mainly stored in the liver, chronic liver disease can also cause deficiency.
How is folic acid deficiency diagnosed?
Folic acid deficiency is diagnosed through blood tests. The main cause of folic acid deficiency is lack of food. The main reason is not to eat raw vegetables and overcooked food.
Deficits are common in the elderly. It is estimated that about half of women of childbearing age are deficient in folic acid. The reasons for this deficit seem to be a bad diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, a diet that is not accompanied by healthcare professionals.
The most common symptom of folic acid deficiency
Folic acid deficiency is manifested by fatigue, weakness of the immune system, digestive disorders (diarrhea), poor healing of skin lesions, nervous disorders, increased sensitivity of the mucous membranes of the gums.
Spina bifida (1 in 1000 pregnancies) may be the main cause of deficiency in pregnancy, but it can cause fetal growth defects and premature birth.
Folic acid plays a role in neuronal connectivity, so folate deficiency can be manifested with memory disorders. Lack of folic acid also affects mood. Low folic acid levels are associated with an increased risk of depression. Severe neurological disorders in the fetus (especially incompatibility with neural tube closure) are associated with folic acid deficiency.
Vitamin B deficiency also affects the skin and hair in general. Hair fall is seen. Folic acid is an anti-anemia vitamin, such as vitamin B12. Since folic acid participates in the production of red blood cells, its deficiency can lead to anemia. Severe folic acid deficiency, such as vitamin B12 deficiency, leads to megaloblastic anemia.
Daily requirement of folic acid
It is recommended that an adult consume vegetables at least three times a day to meet their daily needs. Also on the menu should be beans, whole grain products and milk and dairy products, offal (for example, liver), fish and eggs.
The daily requirement of an adult is 400 micrograms per day. On the other hand, the demand of pregnant women has increased such as 600 to 800 micrograms per day. Most experts recommend starting folic acid intake at least one month before pregnancy and taking supplements in the first months of pregnancy.
The recommended daily amount of folic acid
0 to 6 months: 65 mcg
7 to 12 months: 80 micrograms
1 to 3 years: 150 mcg
4 to 8 years: 200 mcg
9 to 13 years: 300 mcg
14 years and older: 400 mcg
Pregnant women: 600 mcg
Breastfeeding women: 500 mcg
Most folic acid foods
Folic acid in the form of folate is found in many major foods at the top of the food pyramid. It is mainly found in dark green vegetables such as endive, spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
Also like beans, peas and lentils Stalks And some, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwis and watermelons. In the fruit Found.
It should be noted that the preparation of vegetables can greatly reduce the concentration of folic acid, especially in contact with water (for example, some folic acid dissolves in used water during cooking / boiling).
Dairy products also contain folic acid. An adult with a healthy and varied diet can get enough folic acid.
Here are 6 foods rich in folic acid to meet the body’s daily needs:
1. Wheat germs
Wheat seeds contain about 350 mg of folic acid per 100 g. In addition to boosting immunity, wheat germ is a good source of essential fatty acids, such as omega-3, which is important in protecting the body from certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease.
Vale liver, lamb and poultry offal contains high levels of folic acid. They provide an average of about 300 mg of folic acid per 100 g.
Lentils, lentils and peas, which are high in protein, also contain significant amounts of folic acid. 100 grams of beans and lentils provide 300 mg and 200 mg of folic acid, respectively.
4. Dark greens
Dark greens are among the foods rich in folic acid. Eating more spinach, lettuce, watercress, Brussels sprouts or arugula will help increase your folic acid levels as well as provide your body with a good amount of fiber. For example, 100 grams of raw spinach contains 190 milligrams of folic acid.
Almonds, which are healthy snacks, have many health benefits. These foods are also rich in folic acid, an essential source of vitamins, calcium and nutrients to meet our daily needs. 100 grams of hazelnuts provide about 198 milligrams of folic acid.
Broccoli is a green leafy vegetable that provides folic acid. One 100-gram serving, eaten raw or steamed, provides about 102 milligrams of folic acid. It is rich in vitamin C and its use helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and various cancers.