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The Nutritional Benefits of Folic Acid

The debate about the necessity of taking dietary supplements is still alive. While numerous doctors maintain we get all that we require from the foods we eat, others prefer to offer supplementary vitamins when their patients are under stress such as pregnancy, illness or even aging. Studies have shown that taking supplementary B group vitamins, specifically folic acid and B12 have reduced birth defects from 72 to 100%. Since regulations authorizing the addition of folic acid to grains have come into play, the incidence of birth defects in the United States has lessened by 19%, though skeptics claim there could be alternate reasons. - Symptoms of folate deficiency. If your tongue is swollen and you suffer from loss of appetite, shortness of breath, are irritable, forgetful and mentally sluggish, you may have a folate deficiency.

Folic acid is one of the B group of vitamins. Most animal and plant foods are poor sources of it. The exception is liver which most folks do not eat a lot of these days. Various habits and diseases also play a greater share in causing a lack of this vitamin. Celiac disease, alcoholism and irritable bowel syndrome just to name a few.

Studies have also suggested that when ageing individuals suffer from depression it may be caused by a lack of folate vitamin B9. Folate should be taken with B6 And B12 vitamins to help its absorption and function in the body. These three vitamins work together to help relieve symptoms of depression. They do this by lowering the amount of homocysteine, which is thought to play an active roll in causing depression. Several population-based studies around the United States have shown that various cancers are less ubiquitous in people who have high levels of folic acid. These people consumed high amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber. One study of 50,000 women revealed that adequate consumption of folate significantly reduced the chances of breast cancer. Some prescription medications for inflammatory bowel disease have been found to interfere with the bodies proficiency to absorb folate. This deficiency has as well been linked to male infertility and heart disease. Foods that offer the most folic acid are dark leafy greens, brewers yeast, beef liver, various seafood, orange juice and milk.

Root vegetables and whole grains also provide diminutive amounts. Side effects from folic acid supplements are uncommon, though they can occur if the dose exceeds 15000 mcg per day. Taking any one of the B group of vitamins alone can cause a deficiency in the others. Find out if you actually do need it and make certain your doctor knows you plan to take it. Some prescription medication like antibiotics and warfarin can interact adversely to this supplement, while others like ibuprofen and aspirin may cause a deficiency. Methotrexate, used to treat some cancer and rheumatoid arthritis elevates the body's need for folic acid. Its side-effects are largely reduced by the addition of this vitamin without impairing its advantage, so if you must take this drug, be sure see your doctor about adding folic acid to your diet.


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