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The Health Benefits of Folic Acid & Folic Acid vs. Natural Folate: The Case Against High

Updated: Oct 3


Folic acid is one of the B vitamins. It's found in many foods and is added to certain foods as a supplement. Folic acid helps form red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. Red blood cells are made in your bone marrow, the spongy material in the center of your bones. A deficiency in folic acid may lead to folate-deficiency anemia (also called megaloblastic anemia). Anemia means you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body. Symptoms of anemia include being very tired or weak, headache, irritability, and problems concentrating.



Folic acid is one of the B vitamins.


Folate is the natural form of folic acid, a B vitamin that plays a vital role in helping the body convert food into energy. Folate is also known as vitamin B9.

Many people think of folate when they hear "folic acid." But there is an essential difference between the two: your body can use folic acid only after it has been converted to its active form, called 5-MTHF (or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate). This means that folic acid might not be as beneficial for you as natural folate would be—and because supplemental and fortified foods often contain added synthetic folic acid instead of naturally occurring folate, you may be getting more than you need for optimal health without getting all the benefits this essential nutrient provides!


Folic acid is found in many foods and is added to certain foods as a supplement.


Folic acid is found in many foods and is added to certain foods as a supplement. Folate is found naturally in leafy green vegetables, beans, peas, and lentils.

So what makes folic acid different from natural folate? According to Dr. Joseph Mercola:

  • Folic acid is the synthetic version of this vitamin and has been shown to have adverse health effects when consumed regularly or occasionally.

Folic acid helps form red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body.


Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps form red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. When you consume foods with folic acid or take a supplement containing it, your body turns that folic acid into forms called folate and methyl-folate. These forms of folic acid enter your cells and help make DNA, RNA, and new proteins.

Without adequate amounts of these nutrients in your diet (or if you have an enzyme deficiency), you may be at risk for various health problems, including:


-Reduced ability to make new cells, which can lead to anemia and iron deficiency

-Neurological disorders such as depression, memory loss, and seizures

-Heart problems like high blood pressure


Red blood cells are made in your bone marrow, the spongy material in the center of your bones.


Your bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue inside your bones. It produces red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. Red blood cells, also called erythrocytes, make up about 10% of our blood volume.

On average, there are approximately 2 trillion red blood cells in each cubic millimeter of healthy bone marrow fluid. That's more than one quadrillion (1,000 trillion) per liter!


A deficiency in folic acid may lead to folate-deficiency anemia.


The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines anemia as a condition where the body doesn't have enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body. Folate deficiency can lead to folate-deficiency anemia, a severe health issue that increases your risk of heart disease and other complications.


You might wonder what happens if you don't get enough folic acid. You may experience fatigue, weakness, and cold all the time (feeling chilly when others are not). You may also feel dizzy or lightheaded because of low blood pressure, hyperactive at night when others are sleeping soundly (which can cause insomnia), and experience depression due to low serotonin levels in the brain. In severe cases, it could lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps/pain, or diarrhea; however, these symptoms usually resolve within about two weeks after starting treatment with folic acid supplements (check with your doctor before taking any supplements).


Anemia means you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body.


Anemia means you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body. Symptoms of anemia include being very tired or weak, headache, irritability, and problems concentrating.


If you are eating a regular diet and not getting enough folic acid for some reason (like if you don't eat leafy greens), then I think it's worth taking a supplement because the benefits are so great.


Symptoms of anemia include being very tired or weak, headache, irritability, and problems concentrating.


Symptoms of anemia include being very tired or weak, headache, irritability, and problems concentrating. Anemia can be caused by many things, including folic acid deficiency. Other causes of anemia include vitamin B12 deficiency and iron deficiency.


Understanding how folic acid works in the body helps to know how your cells make energy from food. Your body needs fuel for daily activities—from walking around your home to running a marathon—and this energy comes from the food you eat. The primary source of fuel for the body are carbohydrates (sugars), fats, and proteins. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, then transported around the body to provide energy for our organs, such as heart muscles and brain cells. Fats are broken down into fatty acids that also provide power when they enter our bloodstreams through our small intestines after we consume them through foods such as nuts/seeds/avocados/olives, etcetera! Protein-rich foods such as meat have fewer calories but contain enough amino acids (building blocks) so that our bodies can make new proteins which are essential parts of every cell within us. Amino acids must be adequately metabolized before our bodies can use them!


Having folic acid with other B vitamins can help boost your energy level, decrease stress, and improve memory.


Folic acid is a B vitamin essential for energy production and the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. It also helps form DNA, which makes up the genetic code for all the cells in your body.

When you have enough folic acid in your diet, it can improve memory and cognitive function. Some also claim that taking high amounts of folic acid supplements may help reduce stress levels, but more research is needed to confirm this claim.


If you're deficient in vitamin B12 or iron, then taking folic acid won't correct anemia until vitamin B12 or iron deficiency is treated too.


If you're deficient in vitamin B12 or iron, then taking folic acid won't correct anemia until vitamin B12 or iron deficiency is treated too.

For example, one study found that low folate levels were associated with higher rates of anemia among women who took folic acid supplements (but not those who took a placebo). However, the researchers also noted that in this group of women with low folate levels, many had been taking oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – both of which can cause anemia because they affect your body's absorbs nutrients like iron and B12.


Because a deficiency of folic acid usually occurs from not eating enough fruits and vegetables, it's best to get this vitamin from sources like leafy green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, fortified cereals, beans, peas and lentils, citrus juice and dried beans and peas.


Folic acid is found in many foods and is added to certain foods as a supplement. Folic acid helps form red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body.

Getting enough folic acid is not a problem for most people because it's often found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and other food sources such as fortified cereals or enriched bread.


The recommended daily amount of folic acid for adults is 400 micrograms (mcg).


The recommended daily amount of folic acid for adults is 400 mcg. This amount is the same as the amount found in a prenatal vitamin and can also be obtained from food sources. For example, 100 grams of cooked spinach contains 266 mcg of folate or natural folic acid (the form found in food).

When you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should talk to your doctor about taking additional folic acid supplements because it may help prevent specific congenital disabilities like spina bifida.*


Conclusion


As you can see, the benefits of folic acid are clear. It's essential to ensure you have enough of this vitamin in your diet, so you don't suffer from any deficiencies. If you're not getting enough folic acid through your food sources, talk to your doctor about supplements and how much they should give you each day.

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