Usually when people talk about folic acid it tends to be directly related to pregnancy, due to the vast majority of pregnant women, if not all of them, they should take this vitamin before and during it. However, in addition to them, everyone needs folic acid. This is a type of vitamin of the B complex, specifically it is vitamin B9, also called olacin or folates and it fulfills a large number of functions, so it is essential in our body. It is about him that we want to talk to you throughout this post, that is why we want to invite you to continue reading because we are going to tell you what folic acid is for.

What is folic acid for?

The first thing we must know that folic acid is not a need only for pregnant women, on the contrary, it has many functions and all of these are necessary for both men and women.

In this sense, among all its functions and benefits, it seems important to us to mention the following:

  • It works by protecting cells that are healthy
  • It is very important to prevent a specific type of anemia
  • It has proven to be very important when it comes to collaborating in the regulation and control of high blood pressure levels.
  • Participates in the constitution of the nervous system
  • It is extremely good for treating all the signs and symptoms that are related to menopause in women.
  • It considerably reduces the risk of contracting or developing cancer of the color, cervix and also of the breast.

This as a general screenshot, but we must know that this vitamin is absolutely essential for our body to function on a daily basis. In this sense, our body needs folic acid so that the organs are protected and the body’s processes can occur correctly. At the same time, this folic acid is the requirement so that energy can be generated and DNA replicates are made, without it the division of cells cannot be done, and that is why it causes the body’s defenses to fall and it are more susceptible to contracting any disease.

Regarding what we were saying about anemia, we are talking about the type called megaloblastic anemia. What happens is that when the body does not have the necessary amounts of folic acid, and tries with this lack to make the red cells anyway, they cannot mature and then although they increase in size, they are useless to be able to fulfill the vital function that they have managers.

At the same time we cannot fail to mention that folic acid is very important for all processes related to liver detoxification. This is because it is the one that enables the transformation of sadenosyl methionine into glutathione, this being a fundamental molecule for the liver detoxification process. In this way, this molecule allows the liver to function correctly and if there is no folic acid in the body, this molecule cannot be synthesized. That is, in the absence of it, s-adenosyl methionine cannot be converted into glutathione and ends up becoming homocysteine, which is a highly toxic free radical for cell walls, which causes hardening of blood vessels, which lose their flexibility.
What is more, when homocysteine ​​is found in the body at high levels, this becomes a potential health risk, especially since it favors the onset of heart disease, as well as others such as arteriosclerosis. However, we cannot fail to mention that these types of diseases can be treated from a nutritional perspective because by administering a regular dose of folic acid, a balance and the conversion of the corresponding molecules can be achieved for good health.

How much do we need folic acid and how to know if I am lacking

It is important to know that the body’s requirement for folic acid varies according to the age and physiological state of the person. In any case, from adolescence, more or less from the age of 16, the advisable thing is 400 micrograms of folic acid. In the case of pregnant women, it rises to 600, as well as for lactating mothers, which is 500 per day.

We want to emphasize that in general, people who eat a balanced and balanced diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, and therefore spinach and lettuce are incorporated into various meals, tend to be left without folic acid deficiency, which In this way, the other disorders that may appear as a consequence of this deficiency are ensured.

In case you are suspecting that the levels of folic acid in your body may be low, it is advisable to consult your doctor, because he with a blood test can determine specifically how the levels of this vitamin are found. b9. As we mentioned in some section of this post, when it is confirmed that there is a deficiency of folic acid in the body, this can be treated and reversed in a short time, with supplements or by making changes in the diet to incorporate the foods that are a source of this vitamin.

Foods rich in folic acid

There are many foods that are a source of this vitamin, among all of them we want to mention: potato, sweet potato, oatmeal, rice, meat, chicken breast, pork or beef liver, lettuce, peas, spinach, broccoli, lentils, cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, milk, pineapple, whole wheat bread, tomato, beet, orange and many others.

Folic acid in Pregnancy

Women who are planning to become pregnant or are already pregnant are always advised to start taking folic acid. This is because it is very important to be able to prevent defects that can occur in the neural tube at birth, that is, at the level of the brain and spinal cord. We must emphasize that what is called the neural tube is the part of the embryo in which the brain and spinal cord later develop. These types of defects occur in the very first moments of development, even before women can know that they are pregnant, hence the importance that they can start taking folic acid before becoming pregnant.

Likewise, various studies have shown that in pregnancy folic acid also serves to prevent other types of defects, for example some that can occur in the heart or cleft lip.
But it is also very important for women, because the synthetic version of vitamin B9 that is folic acid, which is also known as folate, helps reduce the risk of a woman developing pre-eclampsia, which is a complex condition at the level of blood pressure.

I hope that this information about folic acid and especially knowing what it is for and why it is so important to take care of its levels in our body, has been useful and practical. And finally, we want to re-emphasize the need to take care of its levels during pregnancy, because its administration or not in the pregnant woman can make a difference.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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