Folic Acid - All You Need to Know About
Folic acid is a yellow- orange powder which is crystalline in nature. It derives its name from the Latin word folium meaning leaf. Hence this compound can be obtained in abundance by consuming leafy vegetables, although some fortified cereals and bread may contain folic acid too.
The diagrammatic representation of folic acid is given below:
It is not a biologically active compound in its native state but owes its importance to the formation tetrahydrofolate and other derivatives during its conversion to dihydrofolic acid during its synthesis in the liver. Better known as folate in its naturally occurring form it finds its importance in numerous functions of the body.
Importance of Folic Acid:
- It acts on the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and helps in their synthesis
- It helps to repair the damage DNA and also is an essential compound which methylates DNA.
- It acts as a cofactor in numerous biological reactions and act as a catalyst
- It is an important compound to increase the formation of erythrocytes(R.B.C) commonly known as red blood cells both in children and adults, thus help to reduce chances of anemia
- It plays a major role during pregnancy and infancy where there is rapid increase in cell division and growth and folic acid aids this process.
- There are also many evidences to back the fact that it reduces the risks to cancer
Although this folic acid or folate in its native state is not very beneficial yet its deficiency can lead to some serious trouble. During pregnancy the deficiency of folic acid may lead to neural tube defects, an abnormality of the embryo which might give rise to complications during pregnancy. Apart from this the other deficiency diseases include anemia, diarrhea, dyspepsia, peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage, heart palpitations and irritability.
Food items rich in folic acid include:
- Leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus
- Legumes which may be fresh or dried such as peas, beans and lentils
- Egg yolk
- Baker’s yeast
- Fortified cereals like pasta, bread
- Sunflower seeds
- Liver and other liver products
Food items containing moderate amount of folic acid include:
- Juice of fruits such as orange juice, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, banana, raspberry and strawberry
- Juice of certain vegetables like spinach juice, broccoli juice
The naturally found folic acid is susceptible to high temperatures and ultraviolet light of the sun. They are prone to oxidation and are highly soluble in water. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) has prescribed the folic acid requirements of the human body and meal replacements often fail to meet these criteria.
The Tetrahydrofolate and the other derivatives formed during the synthesis of folic acid in the liver is primarily responsible for the various biological functions and its deficiency can lead to the inhibition of these vital derivatives. These compounds are so important that their defect may cause serious ailments.
Since it plays a very important role in the formation of oxy-hemoglobin it maintains a steady supply of oxygen to the blood which is vital for the oxidation of the lungs and the heart too. This enables to flush out the deoxygenated blood away from these important organs and greatly contributes to the proper functioning of various other parts of the human body.
Not only is folic acid required for the proper oxygenation of the blood but is very vital both for DNA and RNA synthesis. It also helps to prevent changes from taking place in the DNA thereby reducing the chances of cancerous cells. Owing to these exclusive features of folic acid it is highly recommended to be used in sufficient quantity in our diet.
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We here at Nutritional Supplements Guide have personally been using this nutritional product for years with excellent health benefiting results.
Side Note: Because of the herbal extract contents of each capsule, pregnant women should wait until they have consulted with their physicians before using Total Balance.