What is folic acid and what is it used for?
Folic acid or vitamin B9, is one of the vitamins that make up the group of vitamins B. This vitamin is of vital importance and fulfills various functions of which highlight the maturation of hemoglobin, the haemoprotein responsible for the transport of oxygen in the blood and the formation of parts of our body in the uterine state. It also helps protect the cells of the body and intervenes in the formation of the nervous system and DNA.
It is normal to find in medical studies that they refer to it with other names besides folic acid, such as folate or folacin.
This nutrient is ingested through food and absorbed in the intestine. The reserves of B9 remain in the liver.
Benefits of folic acid and symptoms of lack or lack of vitamin B9
Folacin acts in the formation and development of many important parts of our body since we are in the womb. The benefits that folic acid brings to the body range from the formation of our brain, our bone structure (especially the spine), the transport of oxygen in the blood through hemoglobin, as well as the formation of the central nervous system .
In addition to these vital functions, the benefits of having optimal levels in the body are:
- The maintenance of healthy cells.
- Help in menopause in older women. This is because it increases estrogen levels.
- Healthy fetal education.
The consequences of a lack of folic acid could cause serious problems in some cases, such as in pregnant women (see the section below). There is also a type of anemia related to the lack of this vitamin called Folate deficiency anemia. This type of anemia differs from iron deficiency, which is due to iron deficiency and that which results from vitamin B12 deficiency, although in all cases the organism suffers similar and equally serious consequences.
Symptoms of lack of folic acid
The main symptoms of a lack of folic acid are:
- Lowering red blood cell levels
- Irritation on the tongue
In pregnancy the examinations of the levels of this vitamin are made within the protocol, for which it is very taken into account during all the pregnancy tests.
Foods with folic acid
Folic acid is ingested mainly in food, although in some cases it is prescribed as a medical supplement.
This nutrient, likewise, should be consumed on a regular basis in food. For that it is good that you know which are the foods with more folic acid or vitamin B9. The main foods in terms of percentage of vitamin B9 are the so-called vegetables or green leafy vegetables, highlighting the following:
- cabbage kale
- normal cab
In addition to lettuce and endives, and other foods that contain folic acid also in good quantities such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leeks, artichokes and legumes such as beans, chickpeas and peas. Also aromatic herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme and cilantro, among many others, contain decent amounts.
Folic acid in pregnancy
The importance of folic acid in pregnancy is one of the most important factors to be taken into account during the process, as are the levels of iron and vitamin B12. Although it is not common for humans to have low folic acid, it is important to take care of it in some cases, such as pregnancy.
There are some effects on the formation and development of the fetus in the womb that are related to the deficit of folic acid.
It is estimated that its lack can have very serious consequences for prenatal health, including microcephaly or absence of brain mass, spina bifida and cleft lip and palate. It also prevents the detachment of the fetus from the uterus, premature birth, and so on.
This is because the folate in pregnancy acts in the formation of the brain and spine, in addition to cellular formation in general and the oxygenation of red blood cells.
There are different medications that recommend to pregnant women, of which the most common is the Foli-Twelve, a supplement of folic acid or vitamin B9 and vitamin B12 that contains 100% the recommended daily amounts of both vitamins.