Many ask, what does folate do to the body? This essential acid has many benefits to our body functions such as, “helping tissues grow, cell work and formation to prevent anemia, break down/use/create new proteins with help of vitamin B12 and C and helps produce DNA”. According to research.
Folate, “is a folic acid known as (vitamin B-9). It is an important component in red blood cell formation and helps in the cell functioning” based on research. These acids occur naturally in foods such as leafy greens, beans, and citrus fruit”.
“It is water-soluble which body release most of the leftover of this vitamin through the urine. Our body doesn’t store folic acid which means, we must get it on regular bases through diet or supplements.
Women who think about becoming pregnant, need to take folic acid supplements, studies proved. “Taking the right amount of folic acid before and during pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Taking higher doses of folic acid before you get pregnant and during the first trimester may lower your chances of miscarriage”.
What does folate do to the metabolism?
Folate intake has “big influence on folate metabolic process requirements including, vitamin B-12, B-6, and C”. Lynn B. Bailey and Jesse F. Gregory mentioned in, The Journal of Nutrition.
“Adequate folate intake is important for cell division and the role of folate coenzymes in nucleic acid synthesis, methionine regeneration, shuttling, oxidation and reduction of one carbon unit required for normal metabolism and regulation”.
“Folate acts as a cofactor for enzymes involved in DNA and RNA biosynthesis. It is involved in the supply of methyl groups to the so-called methylation cycle, which uses methionine and makes homocysteine”.
According to research, “folate deficiency cause body weight gain leading to adiposity”. Overweight and obesity had 12% lower folate intake and 8.5% lower folate serum concentrations than the controls, associate with body fat percentage”.
Not surprisingly, what does folate do to the body? Has been causally linked with many body benefits including:
- Cell function and tissue growth
- Break, use and create new protein
- Help with anemia
- Helps DNA carry genetic information
- Menstrual problems
- Leg ulcers
What is the best source of folate?
As we mentioned, folic acid is water-soluble. It’s not naturally found in any food. “The government began requiring manufactures to add folate to some type of food to help reduce the number of congenital anomalies caused by folic acid deficiencies”. According to Ashley Braun, RD. MPH.
“Food manufacturers use a process called fortification to add vitamins and minerals to foods during food processing. With this process, they can add a variety of micronutrients, calcium, vitamin D and folic acid, to the fortified foods”.
Some of the food that contain folic acid are mainly wholegrains, vegetables, leafy greens, and citrus fruit.
- Wholegrains food including fortified grains products, flour, bread, pasta, rice, fortified cereals, oatmeal, corn, and cornmeal.
- Leafy greens including, spinach, kale, arugula, and Romaine lettuce.
- Vegetables such as, brussels sprouts, broccoli, beans and legumes (navy beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, kidney beans).
- Citrus fruits are good source of vitamin C and folate and other antioxidants including, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, papaya.
Side effects of folate deficiency
Providing the answer to what does folate do to the body? When it comes to the importance folic acid has on body functioning. It’s wise to know about overdoes side effects and deficiency.
“Certain side effects can be noticed by people who lack the adequate amount of folic acid including diarrhea, gray hair, peptic ulcer, mouth ulcer, glossitis, poor growth, and anemias in many cases”.
Anemia is “a lack of folate may impact red blood cell production, causing megaloblastic anemia. Symptoms may include fatigue, breathlessness, pale skin, headaches, and irregular heartbeats”. Ashley Braun said.
In addition, “neural tube defect, folate’s role in cell division helps with fetal growth and neural tube development. A folate deficiency during early pregnancy may lead to the development of spina bifida or anencephaly”.
What does folate do to women’s body?
“Women who think about becoming pregnant, breastfeeding and women of childbearing age to support fetal growth and prevent congenital anomalies. Also, taking the right amount of folate intake during pregnancy will lower the chances of miscarriage”.
The consumption of folate and the use of oral folic acid supplements, research prove improvement in such conditions:
- Birth defects – “folic acid supplements can prevent birth defects of the neural tube, according to research. Taking a daily prenatal vitamin three months before conception, can help ensure women get enough of this vital nutrient”.
- Heart, blood vessel disease and stroke – “High levels of homocysteine levels can increase the risk of heart diseases and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, folic acid is needed because it works with B-6 and B-12 to control high levels of homocysteine in the blood”.
- Cancer – Folic acid may help reduce the risk of certain cancers according to some research.
- Depression – Some indications have shown that folate might help in treating depression.
What is the adequate amount of intake of folic acid?
“For most people, it’s best to get folate from food. A balanced diet usually provides all you need. However, folic acid supplements are recommended for women who are planning to become pregnant, could become pregnant, are pregnant or are breast-feeding”. Mayo Clinic Staff
“Folic acid supplements can also help people who have poor diets or conditions that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb folate”.
According to research, “the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for folate is about 400 micrograms (mcg) for adults, 600 mcg for pregnant women, and 500 mcg for breastfeeding women”.
“For people with deficiencies or who are at a higher risk for a deficiency, your healthcare provider may recommend doses between 1 to 5 milligrams”.
What does folate do to the body if taken as supplements?
“The use of folate as oral supplement for specific conditions is supported by many research, due to the positive results in such conditions. It shows that supplements can prevent birth defects of the neural tube”.
However, taking folate supplements with certain medication may cause interactions according to Mayo Clinic, including:
- Anticonvulsants – “Taking folic acid with Cerebyx, Dilantin, Phenytek or Mysoline might decrease the drug’s concentration in the blood.
- Barbiturates – “Taking folic acid with a drug that acts as a central nervous system depressant might decrease the drug’s effectiveness.
- Methotrexate – “Taking folic acid with this medication used to treat cancer could interfere with its effectiveness”.
- Pyrimethamine –“Taking folic acid with this antimalarial drug might reduce the effectiveness of the drug”.
As we recommend always, medical advice should be always obtained before considering any supplements. Nutrient test can be provided by you physician to measure the levels of nutrients in your blood.
Knowing that filate is an important nutrient to in preventing birth defects for women of childbearing years. It’s also considered vital to many body functions in both women and men.
It’s always important to understand the benefits and risks of each folic acid type from natural folate in foods to the fortified products with folic acid.
this folic acid is an essential B-9 vitamin that works with B12 and vitamin C to produce red and white blood cells in bone marrow. Also, it helps the production of DNA and RNA and transforming carbohydrates to energy.
Having a balanced level of folate nutrient in your blood is important during human growth period, such as pregnancy, infancy, and puberty.