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Healthy Vitamins

Folic Acid
B Complex Vitamin

Folic acid, also called folate, like many of the B vitamins, plays many key roles in the body, including blood formation.   It is essential during pregnancy to prevent spinal bifida, as well as other neural tube defects in the embryo, because it is needed for division and growth of new cells and for the synthesis of DNA. It helps make enzymes work better, prevents anemia, seems to help control pernicious anemia and leukemia.  It also seems to be useful in cases of alcoholism.

Folic acid seems to work well against some pre-cancerous lesions, and also helps to strengthen the immune system during or after chemotherapy.  In addition, research from a study at the University of Alabama in Birmingham found that women with high folate levels had 2 to 5 times less likely to develop cervical dysplasia (a condition where abnormal cells develop in the cervix, which has been shown to lead to cancer in some women).

Extra Folic Acid Requirements

Long-term use of various drugs, including antibiotics, especially over the long term, anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, oral contraceptives, aluminum antacids, tobacco and alcohol also seems to deplete body of Vitamin B12.   Women who are pregnant or even thinking about getting pregnant need to make sure that they get enough folic acid so as not to cause birth defects in their babies.

Deficiency Symptoms of Folic Acid

Deficiency of Folic Acid can result in malabsorption problems including sprue and Crohn's desease.   Other symtoms include fatigue, weakness, depression, confusion, either constipation or diarrhea, heartburn, frequent infections and weight loss.

Food Sources of Folic Acid

The best food sources of Folic Acid are legumes like pinto and navy beans, liver, poultry, eggs, nutritional yeast, citrus fruits like oranges, leafy green vegatables like spinach, asparagus, broccoli, peas and brussel sprouts.  Note that up to 50 percent of folate can be destroyed while storing, processing or preparing the food, especially when exposed to heat and light. 

Folate is usually considered non-toxic, although large intakes, such as above 1,000 mg per day over a period of time have been shown to cause intestinal dysfunction, general malaise, nausea, bloating, irritability and problems sleeping.  You do want to be very careful, however, that you don't take too much folate, because it can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency.  Once again, consuming these vitamins in their natural state is much safer and more effective than using synthetic versions.

FDA Disclaimer:  None of the statements on this website have been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  They are not intended to diagnose, treat,  cure or prevent any disease or medical condition.  Furthermore, none of  the statements on this website should be construed as making claims  about curing diseases or dispensing medical advice.  Please consult a  physician or another health care provider before trying any nutritional  supplement, making changes in your diet, or doing new exercises,  especially if you are pregnant or have any pre-existing medical  conditions or injuries.


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