Folic acid is a water-soluble synthetic vitamin that is found in food supplements meals.
It's a synthetic form of folate, a naturally occurring B vitamin present in a variety of meals. Because your body cannot produce folate, it must be received through diet.
Although the terms folate and folic acid are frequently used interchangeably, these vitamins are not interchangeable. Folic acid is structurally distinct from folate and has somewhat different biological effects in the body. Having said that, both are thought to contribute to an appropriate nutritional intake.
Folate may be found in a variety of plant and animal foods such as spinach, kale, broccoli, avocado, citrus fruits, eggs, and beef liver.
Advantages and applications
Folic acid and folate are both extensively used as supplements for a number of reasons.
Although folic acid and folate supplements are commonly used to treat the same diseases, they have different effects in the body and, as a result, may influence health in various ways, as discussed more in this article.
The most prevalent advantages and applications of folic acid and folate supplements are as follows.
Birth abnormalities and pregnancy difficulties can be avoided.
One of the most prominent applications for folic acid and folate supplements is the prevention of birth abnormalities, notably neural tube disorders such as spina bifida and anencephaly, which occurs when a baby is born missing sections of its brain or skull.
Maternal folate status is a predictor of neural tube defect risk, which has resulted in national public health regulations requiring folic acid supplementation for pregnant or planning to become pregnant women.
Reduced risk factors for heart disease.
Supplementing with folate-based vitamins, such as folic acid, may assist improve heart health and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease risk factors.
High levels of the amino acid homocysteine are linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease. Homocysteine levels in the blood are influenced by both food and hereditary factors.
Other potential benefits
Folate-based supplements may assist diabetics improve blood sugar management, reduce insulin resistance, and improve cardiovascular function. These supplements may also aid in the reduction of diabetic problems such as neuropathy.
More than 800 mcg of supplementary folate per day is connected with a greater rate of live births in women receiving assisted reproductive technology. A sufficient supply of folate is also required for oocyte (egg) quality, implantation, and maturation.
Folic acid for pregnancy
Folate is necessary for foetal growth and development. It is required for cellular division and tissue development, for example. This is why it is critical to have enough folate levels both before and throughout pregnancy.
Based on research correlating poor folate status in mothers to a dramatically higher risk of neural tube abnormalities in their offspring, wheat and other dietary staples have been fortified with folic acid since the 1990s.
Although there is no upper limit for edible sources of folate, harmful effects may occur when synthetic folate dosages exceed the defined UL of 1,000 mcg.
Higher dosages may be recommended by your healthcare professional in some instances, such as folate insufficiency, but you should not exceed the UL without medical supervision.
A mortality was observed in one research as a result of purposeful high folic acid consumption (Trusted Source).
Toxicity is uncommon, however, because folate is water-soluble and easily removed from the body. Nonetheless, except under medical guidance, excessive dosage supplementation should be avoided.
Handling and storage
Keep folic acid supplements in a cool, dry area. Keep supplements away from moist areas.
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