Needed for the formation of red blood cells and for energy production folic acid is also considered brain food. This nutrient is involved in protein metabolism. It has been used in the prevention and treatment of folic acid anemia. It functions as a coenzyme in RNA and DNA synthesis making it important for healthy cell division and replication. It makes our immunity stronger by assisting in the proper formation and functioning of white blood cells.
Folic acid may be effective in the treatment of uterine cervical dysplasia which is abnormal cells that may be found on the surface of the cervix. It may also help those who suffer with depression and anxiety.
Folic acid is very crucial during pregnancy. Studies have shown a daily intake of four hundred micrograms of folic acid in early pregnancy may prevent the vast majority of neural tube defects. This includes anencephaly and spina bifida. It helps to regulate fetal and embryonic nerve formation. It is also believed to help prevent premature births.
It is recommended by many experts that women of child bearing age take this supplement daily. Folic acid, to be effective, must begin before conception and continue for at least the first three months of pregnancy. Because of critical events in fetal development that occur during the first six weeks of pregnancy it may be too late if a woman waits until she is certain she is pregnant to begin a regime on the nutrient. This nutrient works at its best when it is taken in combination with vitamin C and vitamin B12.
An inadequate consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits and malabsorption problems can lead to a deficiency of folic acid. So can consuming only cooked vegetables or microwaved vegetables. Cooking vegetables destroys folic acid.
Signs of possible deficiency of this nutrient may include apathy, fatigue, graying hair, anemia, digestive disturbances, and growth impairment. Other possible signs include birth defects in offspring, weakness, paranoia, memory problems, insomnia and labored breathing. A red, sore tongue is also a sign of folic acid deficiency.
Alcohol can act as an opponent for the absorption of folic acid. Oral contraceptives may raise the need for the nutrient. If someone has a hormone related cancer or convulsive disorder they should not take high doses of folic acid.