Life 67_ Folic acid _ Pregnancy tonic, prevent and treat disease
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AWHAT IS FOLIC ACID?

Folic acid, also sometimes referred to generically as folate. These are all water soluble forms of vitamin B9.

Of which, folate is found naturally in foods such as vegetables, mushrooms, meat, etc. It is a synthetic form of vitamin B9, found in supplements and fortified foods.

Discovered in the 1940s and since 1998, it has been added to cold cereals, flour, bread, pasta, baked goods and cookies in North America.

THE ROLE OF FOLIC ACID

Folic acid is essential for the proper development of the human body. Specifically, I would like to highlight the following very important roles:

  • Participates in the synthesis of DNA and RNA and in the formation of amino acids, constituents of all living cells.
  • Allows the renewal of red blood cells, good tissue healing in case of injury and has been involved in immune function.
  • Plays an essential role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses.
  • And, the presence of folic acid is essential in all the processes that require cell division, and therefore, it plays an extremely important role in the development and growth of the fetus.

INDICATIONS

Talking about the effects of folic acid on disease prevention, you can briefly remember the following 3 main indications:

  • Protect against fetal malformations
  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • And, reduce the risk of cancer

HOW TO SUPPLEMENT FOLIC ACID?

In any case, if you want to use folic acid on your own, you should consult your doctor to decide on the correct dosage and combine with other supplements if you feel it is necessary. The numbers I give you below are only suggestions for your reference.

For women of childbearing age

  • Please note that pregnant women who lack too much folic acid will have a high risk of miscarriage, premature labor, postpartum psychosis and fetal malnutrition. In addition, babies are also prone to cardiovascular disease, cleft palate, neurological diseases like spina bifida, anencephaly (this is a malformation that occurs in the fetus due to certain abnormalities of the neural tube, particularly during the first 7 weeks of pregnancy)
  • According to experts, folic acid even helps prevent birth defects of the lips, heart, urinary tract and limbs in newborns. Therefore, folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy is extremely important and necessary.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all women of childbearing age consume 400 µg of folic acid per day. Studies have shown that women who take folic acid supplements one year before becoming pregnant have a reduced risk of preterm labor compared to other women.
  • Pregnant women should get up to 600-800 µg of folic acid per day from food or supplement from one month before pregnancy and during pregnancy.
  • In particular, pregnant women with a history of congenital neural tube defects should take up to 4000 µg of folic acid per day.

For some other medical conditions

  • High levels of homocysteine ​​in the blood have been linked to heart disease, stroke, and people with severe kidney disease (such as end-stage kidney disease). In general, people with homocysteine ​​levels above 11 micromoles / L are recommended to take folic acid supplements with vitamin B12.
  • People taking methotrexate often have side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Taking folic acid can reduce these symptoms.
  • Elderly people who have lost their eyesight due to macular degeneration, taking folic acid in combination with other vitamins, such as vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, can slow this degenerative process.
  • Older people have more severe decline in memory and thinking skills than normal compared to people of the same age, taking folic acid may improve this situation. In particular, it is more effective in cases where people are deficient in folate or have high levels of homocysteine ​​in the blood.
  • Folic acid may play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Results from comparative studies show that affected people often have lower blood levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 than healthy people of the same age.
  • For cases of depression, folic acid used in combination with antidepressants also increases the effect of improving their symptoms of this disease. To fight against depression, the recommended dosage is around 400 µg per day, as a supplement combining several B vitamins.
  • For cases of high blood pressure. Studies show that people with high blood pressure who take folic acid supplements daily for at least 6 weeks also have a significant reduction in blood pressure.
  • Stroke. Taking about 400 µg of folic acid per day can reduce the risk of stroke. This effect is quite pronounced (between 10% and 25%) in people living in countries where cereal products are not fortified with folic acid.
  • Vitiligo – A skin disorder that causes white patches to develop on the skin which is also improved by oral folic acid supplements.

SOME NOTES WHEN TAKING ORAL FOLIC ACID SUPPLEMENTS

  • Folic acid can be absorbed at any time of the day, including on an empty stomach or with meals. However, note that it should not be taken with tea, coffee, or alcohol to avoid reduced absorption of folic acid.
  • In case of prolonged overdose. Very high doses (for example, 5000-10000 µg per day) are not only unnecessary, but can also be toxic to people with leukemia and those with hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer and cancer of the breast. prostate. In addition, consuming too much folic acid can also cause seizures in people with epilepsy.
  • Folic acid supplements can mask a type of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. If not detected, this anemia can cause irreversible nerve damage. Therefore, in case of vitamin B9 and B12 deficiency, treatment should always start with vitamin B12 supplementation. The advice here is that you should buy a supplement that contains both vitamins B9 and B12 to make sure there is no such deficiency and to keep costs down, because when buying a combination product , often cheaper than buying 2 separately.
  • If you are on treatment for a medical problem, you should consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
  • Pregnant women taking folic acid may be prone to constipation. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to eat lots of high fiber foods, fruits, vegetables and drink lots of water to avoid constipation during pregnancy.
  • In addition to folic acid supplements, you should get more folate from natural food sources.

NATURAL FOOD SOURCES OF FOLATE

In addition to taking the above supplement forms, you can refer to folate supplements from foods in your daily diet. Here are some suggestions:

  • Oranges, orange juice: Rich in folate, oranges are also a rich source of fiber and vitamin C, which both help increase iron absorption and reduce the risk of constipation when loading folate. in the body.
  • Milk and dairy products: Rich in folate. In addition, it is obvious that milk contains a lot of protein and calcium, which is very good for the health of the pregnant woman and the development of the fetus.
  • Asparagus: It is a vegetable with the highest folate content of all vegetables. Five asparagus plants contain approximately 1000 µg of folate.
  • After asparagus, it is spinach, which also has a very high folate content compared to other dark green vegetables. It is also a vegetable rich in iron, which is extremely healthy for pregnant women.
  • And, another green vegetable worth mentioning is broccoli with a very high folate content. Moreover, broccoli also helps you prevent and treat constipation very effectively.
  • Legumes such as soybeans, lentils, black beans, peanuts … also contain abundant folate, in which soybeans have the highest folate content. There are many soy products such as: Soy milk, tofu, etc.
  • Potatoes: In addition to folate, potatoes also contain zinc, which supports the nervous development of the fetal brain.
  • Whole Grains, Brown Rice, Rye Bread: These are essential because not only are they high in folate, but they are also high in fiber and several other essential nutrients.
  • Avocado: One avocado contains around 200 µg of folate, in addition, avocado is also rich in essential fats, omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for a mother’s heart as well as for baby’s brain development.
  • eggs: Rich in vitamin A, vitamin D, folate, concentrated mainly in egg yolks.
  • and, fermented foods and beef, etc. are also good sources of folate.

About Post Author

Maître VIKUDO

Docteur en Physiopathologie
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