Basic features of folic acid
Folic acid also referred to as vitamin M or vitamin B9 belongs to the group of vitamin B complex, which are soluble in water.
Together with vitamin B12, folic acid is the so-called antianemic vitamin, because it is participating in the creation of red blood cells in the bone marrow and prevents various types of anemia.
As well as other vitamins and folic acid is sensitive to the light and heat. It is particularly remarkable loss of folic acid during heating and cooking food. It was found that only heating food in the microwave, affects the greater loss of folic acid than cooking food.
In the food, folic acid is in the form of folate, which has several forms and all of them are absorbed in the small intestine. However, the overall utilization of folate from food is 50- 70 %, but it depends on the mode of preparing food (boiled, fried, heated food, food that long standing).
Sources of folic acid in food
Either food of plant and animal origin contains permitted amounts of folic acid. Among the good sources of folic acid, take the following foods:
- Green leafy vegetables (spinach, chard, asparagus, parsley)
- Broccoli, peas, beans, soybeans, broccoli, asparagus
- Whole grain cereals, wheat germ
- Veal liver
- Beer yeast
- Tuna, oysters, salmon
- Oranges, lemons
- Seeds, nuts
Health benefits of folic acid
1. The main function of folic acid is the synthesis of red blood cells in the bone marrow, which are important for the transfer of oxygen to every cell in the body. Due to the lack of folic acid, there is a characteristic form of anemia - megaloblastic anemia.
2. Another important function of folic acid is a blockage of synthesis of homocysteine, a protein that circulates in the blood and is responsible for the occurrence of myocardial infarction and brain stroke, if its concentration in the blood increased. Just for this reason, sufficient amounts of folic acid in the body will be kept at the level of homocysteine concentration and time in addition to prevent the cardiovascular damage and neurological damage and the occurrence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
3. Due to the increased levels of homocysteine and decreased concentrations of folic acid can lead to increased fragility and fractures, and osteoporosis is inevitable.
4. Sufficient folic acid affects the mood and mental health of the man. If we are well equipped with folic acid, we will not suffer from conditions such as nervousness, irritability, lack of concentration, fatigue.
5 Extremely important function of folic acid is in the formation of a healthy fetus. For the record, folic acid participates in the creation of genetic material, in fetal brain formation, as well as the synthesis of red blood elements. Therefore, pregnant women need increased amounts of folic acid (400 - 600 mcg), while in pregnant women carrying twins, the amount of folic acid is increased to 1 mg. It is also recommending that three months before the planned conception starts with taking supplements of folic acid, in order to prevent unwanted deflection of the fetus.
6. The role of folic acid is also reflected in the proper functioning of the epithelium of the digestive tract and vaginal mucous membranes. Any deficiency of folic acid disturbs the balance sheet and leads to gastritis, inflammation of the ovaries and vaginal infections.
Deficit of folic acid
A deficiency of folic acid does not come often, because in the daily diet presents foods that contain entries folic acid (green vegetables, eggs, cereal).
However, as a predisposition to folic acid deficiency are considered alcoholism, pregnancy, celiac disease and the use of certain drugs.
Also, you should know that vitamin C increases the excretion of folic acid from the body, so it is advised to make a gap between taking these preparations.
Symptoms of folic acid deficiency are:
- Problems with the spine and skull ossification in the fetus - Appearance of syndrome known as ‘’neural tube defect’’ that leads to many defective condition of the child or even to death.
- Megaloblastic anemia
- Degenerative damages of nerve cells and the occurrence of Alzheimer's And Parkinson's
- Irritability, fatigue, depression, paleness, shortness of breath, symptoms of anemia
- Bleeding gums
- Gastritis, increased secretion of gastric acid