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How Important is Folic Acid?

Aug 18, 2007
Folic acid, sometimes known as vitamin B9, is a crucial B-vitamin for people to take. It's been estimated that 40 percent of American women do not have enough in their systems. When they don't have enough folic acid, the following problems can occur:

Among pregnant women, a lack of folic acid can result in birth defects, particularly associated with their baby's spinal cord and nervous system development. In the UK, low levels have been associated with excessive number of cases of spina bifida.

Low folic acid levels are associated with elevated homocysteine levels, which is a major cause of heart disease in men and women. Lowered homocysteine is conversely associated with improved levels of heart disease.

Insufficient folic acid can also be associated with a specific kind of anemia, or failure to produce enough red blood cells. This anemia is one of the more common forms of anemia in the United States-again, mostly affecting women.

While folic acid is important in proper doses, one must also be careful not to consume too much without also ingesting other forms of vitamin B. It has been found that doses in excess of 800 mcg/day of folic acid without other B-vitamins can result in deficiencies of other elemental compounds, such as B6 or B12. If one takes a supplement, therefore, one should do it in concert with other B-vitamins as well.

Folic acid, like other B vitamins, can help with digestion and increase in metabolism. They are especially well known to help in digesting sources of protein that are moving through your system. Not only does it help with the production and loss of red blood cells, allowing for a balance of these types of cells in your system, but also provides for DNA synthesis, which helps with guiding which DNA is active in daily functioning.

There are several food sources where folic acid or B-9 is found. Grains and beans both have a large source available in them. You can also find a large amount of B-9 in citrus fruits and juices, such as oranges, and dark vegetables. These are all important supplements that you should have available to you on a daily basis. Folic acid is also available in a variety of meats, such as liver, pork, fish and chicken type products.

If you want to find how much of folic acid to take on a daily basis, as well as which foods will provide the best sources, you can look into several available resources. There are recommended daily allowances, known as RDAs which provide the amount of B-9 intake you should be taking on a daily basis. These can be found through web searches or through local health providers. You can also look into recommendations from health care sources or a physician. This will help with determining how much folic acid you need in your daily diet. Note that the FDA does not allow over 800 mcg/day in each pill, but you may be able to support taking more if your doctor agrees.

Folic acid is an important nutrient for your every day functioning and balance. No matter what you are concentrating on in your life, B-9 will provide several sources and means of balance in order to allow for you to function at a higher level.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Nutrition & Health.
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