Folic Acid (Folacin, Folate)13 years, 9 months ago
Posted on Dec 30, 2005, 8 p.m.
By Bill Freeman
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Folic acid is found in deep-green leafy vegetables, liver, brewer
Folic acid is found in deep-green leafy vegetables, liver, brewer’s yeast, whole grains, bran, asparagus, lima beans, lentils, and orange juice. It is particularly important that women who are trying to conceive and those who are in the first trimester (3-months) of pregnancy consume enough folic acid.
ROLE IN ANTI-AGING:
Folic acid is used in RNA and DNA synthesis, red blood cell production, and the metabolism of protein. It also increases the activity and production of antibodies and may reduce susceptibility to infection. Research has shown that folic acid can help to lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, high levels of which are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. It is estimated that 50,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease could be prevented each year in the United States if people consumed enough folic acid. Elevated homocysteine levels have also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and osteoporosis. Research published in 2002 showed that people with the highest blood level of homocysteine were nearly twice as likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease as those with the lowest levels. Other research published in 2002 found that people with the highest intakes of dietary folic acid were 21% less likely to have a stroke and 40% less likely to develop colorectal cancer. Folic acid is essential for neural tube development during pregnancy, and many studies have shown that folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy can reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida by as much as 70%. Some studies have also found that it may help to prevent heart defects.
Folic acid DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS include: anemia, poor growth, weakness, an inflamed and sore tongue that may appear smooth and shiny, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, indigestion, diarrhea, depression, irritability, pallor, drowsiness, a slow, weakened pulse; graying hair; mental illness; impaired wound healing; reduced resistance to infection; birth defects resulting in spina bifida and other neural tube defects, toxemia, insomnia, leg numbness and cramps in pregnant women, premature birth and after birth hemorrhaging, cervical cancer, and dysplasia.
THERAPEUTIC DAILY AMOUNT:
400-800mcg (micrograms) combined with Bcomplex vitamin. RDA for men and women is 400mcg;; women who are planning or who may become pregnant, and those in the first trimester of pregnancy are advised to take 600mcg of folic acid every day. The RDA for women who are breastfeeding is 500mcg.
MAXIMUM SAFE LEVEL:
The maximum safe levels are 400mcg (long term usage), 700mcg (short term usage). The National Academy of Sciences recommends that the daily intake of folic acid in adults should not exceed 1,000 mcg. Very high doses of folic acid may trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.
Individuals taking anti-epileptic drugs should seek doctor’s advice before taking supplements.