What is folic acid for? It not only promotes the growth and multiplication of cells, but is also essential for the synthesis of DNA, proteins, and the creation of hemoglobin. To avoid deficiencies, it is sufficient to take about 0.2 mg every day.
folic acid (also known as Vitamin B29) you have surely heard of in the past. Today we will see what it is for in practice.
It is very difficult to run into vitamin B29 deficiencies, but it is important to know that extraordinary circumstances can change the need for intake. In pregnancy, in particular, the need for folic acid doubles, as the fetus draws from the mother’s reserves. Furthermore, it can be scarce in diabetics, in those suffering from leukemia or suffering from alcoholism.
Folic Acid: Useful For Various Pathologies
It has also proved particularly useful for the treatment of the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, especially in the case of high cholesterol and homocysteine values.
Folic Acid: What Is It For During Pregnancy?
And in pregnancy? What is folic acid for? To promote the proper development of the fetus, it may be necessary to take vitamin B9 as early as three months before conception.
It is in fact useful to counteract the onset of various malformations, including neural tube defects such as anencephaly and the well-known spina bifida. It also decreases the risk of developing congenital defects, such as heart disease and cleft lip and palate. Finally, beneficial effects on some childhood cancers and Down syndrome have also been ascertained.
Foods And Foods Rich In Folate
Folic acid can be obtained through food, especially with raw fruits and vegetables, as cooking causes them to degenerate. The products that contain it most are legumes and cereals. But it’s also abundant in green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and lettuce.
It can also be found in citrus fruits and fresh or dried fruit such as kiwis, almonds, and strawberries.
On the market, there are fortified breakfast cereals, fruit juices, and a special UHT milk with the addition of folic acid. Foods such as eggs, liver, and offal are also rich in vitamin B9, but cannot be taken by pregnant women. In pregnancy, supplements can be used.
Folic Acid Supplements
Folic acid can be useful, more generally, to all women of childbearing age. One tablet containing 0.4-0.5 mg for every second day of the cycle will be more than enough. During pregnancy, the intake should be 0.6 mg per day, 0.5 mg during breastfeeding, and up to 4-5 mg per day for the treatment of some cardiovascular diseases.
Supplements can be found in pharmacies and online shops. They are usually available by prescription only, except for standard 0.4 mg strength supplements, which can be purchased with or without a prescription, such as this:
However, remember that the intake of these supplements is indicated only in the presence of states of deficiency. Since an overdose can cause collateral damage and cancel the beneficial effects of folic acid, it is important to respect the dosage.
The side effects of folic acid can be many: in the child, overdose can cause asthma already at the newborn age. In adults, it can cause skin irritation, diarrhea, stomatitis, and cramps. Rarer risks include expressive difficulties, increased seizures (in patients with epilepsy), hyperactivity, irritability, involuntary spasms, and recurrent nightmares.