Folic Acid

What is it?

Folic acid is sometimes known as Vitamin B9, Vitamin M or Vitamin Bc. It is a water soluble vitamin needed for the formation of DNA and body proteins; formation of red and white blood cells; development of the foetus.

Function How it helps
Foetal developement

Folic acid is essential for proper cell replication and r the development and maintenance of body tissues and systems, especially the nervous system. A deficiency may manifest in the foetus as a neural tube defect such as spina bifida.

Mental function & emotional health As a methyl donor, folic acid contributes to the production of various neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine which are responsible for memory, mental clarity and moods.
Cardiovascular health As a methyl donor, folic acid also lowers levels of the destructive compound homocysteine by facilitating its conversion back into the amino acid methionine. An elevated level of homocysteine is also known to be a major risk factor in the development of atherosclerosis, the primary trigger for cardiovascular disease.

 

What is it used for?
Prevention of neurological birth defects Cardiovascular disease Senility
Anaemia

Depression

Osteoporosis

 

Best food sources

Brewer’s yeast

Green leafy vegetables

Asparagus

Whole grains

Nuts

Beetroot

Beans

Egg yolk Kidney
Liver Meat Wheatgerm

 

Deficiency Symptoms

Anaemia

Atherosclerosis

Chronic liver disease

Loss of appetite

Depression

Elevated homocysteine levels

Neural tube defects

Premature birth

Diarrhoea

Supplementation dosage range

200-800ug per day

 

Other information

Alcoholics and people with absorption problems may need extra folic acid.

 

Cautions

  • No known toxicity for levels found in supplements.

  • Folic acid supplementation can obscure the signs of B12 deficiency, and it is therefore recommended to supplement with B12 when folic acid is being used. Vegan and vegetarian diets are often high in folic acid and low in B12, which may warrant B12 supplementation.

  • High doses should only be used under medical supervision in epileptics as it may increase seizure activity in some people. Supplementation may reduce the effectiveness of the anti-convulsant drug phenytoin.

  • Folic acid supplementation should not be used concurrently with the drug methotrexate unless under the supervision of your doctor.

  • In schizophrenics, supplementation should be used only under medical supervision.

  • High-doses should be avoided in those with abnormally high levels of histamine (histadelia), unless under medical supervision.

  • Extended use of high doses may cause crystalisation of folacin in kidneys and may cause increased uric acid excretion in the urine.

  • Very high doses may cause bloating, appetite loss, flatulence and nausea. High doses of single B-vitamins may deplete other B-vitamins; therefore if high doses are required, supplementation with a multivitamin or B-complex is advised

 

 

Factors which deplete levels, impair absorption and/or inhibit activity:

Alcohol

Tobacco

Stress

Chemotherapy drugs

Antacids

Anti-convulsants

Anti-inflammatory drugs

Oestrogen, progesterone and oral contraceptives

Corticosteroids

Barbiturates

Sulfa drugs

Chloramphenicol

 

 

Leave a Reply