A water soluble coenzyme in single-carbon transfers in the metabolism of nucleic and amino acids.
Folic acid AKA folate (the anion form) are forms of the water-soluble Vitamin B9, which helps convert vitamin B12 to a coenzyme form, helps synthesize nucleic acids (DNA & RNA) essential for the growth and reproduction of all body cells, essential to the formation of red blood cells by its action on the bone marrow, and aids in amino acid metabolism. Folic acid is needed by adults and children to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia! •
Necessary for red blood cell formation and production, growth and reproduction. Needed for normal growth and development. Helps reduce risk of neural tube birth defects. May reduce the risk of cervical dysplasia.
Prevents microcytic anemia, promotes healthier skin, protects against parasites and food poisoning. Shown to reduce levels of homocysteine, a blood component that can damage blood vessels, and it may also help blood vessels relax, improving blood flow. Essential during pregnancy, shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (birth defects affecting the brain and/or spinal cord). Necessary for red blood cell formation and production, growth and reproduction. Needed for normal growth and development. Helps reduce risk of neural tube birth defects. May reduce the risk of cervical dysplasia.
Prevents microcytic anemia, promotes healthier skin, protects against parasites and food poisoning. Shown to reduce levels of homocysteine, a blood component that can damage blood vessels, and it may also help blood vessels relax, improving blood flow.
Increases appetite and stimulates HCL production.
Enhances liver functions.
Necessary for some amino acid synthesis.
History: Observation by researcher Dr. Lucy Wills in 1931 led to the identification that the nutrient folate was needed to prevent the anemia during pregnancy. Dr. Wills demonstrated that anemia could be reversed with brewer's yeast. Folate was identified as the corrective substance in brewer's yeast in the late 1930s. The term "folic acid" was first used by Mitchell in 1941 which referred to a growth factor found and extracted from spinach leaves. It was first synthesised in 1946.
Vitamin B9, Vitamin B10 and Vitamin B11 were other terms used to identify this vitamin. These numerical terms are no longer used after the naming of vitamin, B12. Folate got its name from the Latin word folium ("leaf").
Technicals: A term commonly used to refer to a family of vitamins with related biological activity, other terms used interchangeably are folate, folates and folacin.
Sources: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, avocados, bananas, asparagus, and pinto, navy and kidney beans and grain products.
Antagonist: Folate may mask a vitamin B-12 deficiency
Synergist: B-Complex, B-12, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin C
Deficiencies Caused by: smoking, oral contraceptives, high intake of aspirin, general malnourishment, and certain drugs such as the chemotherapy drug methotrexate and excessive alcohol consumption
Signs or Symptoms of a Deficiency: Deficiencies in Folic Acid may result in megaloblastic/macrocytic anemia (lack of mature red blood cells, or red blood cells that are larger than normal and contain less hemoglobin levels than normal), anorexia, apathy, birth defects (spina bifida, hydroencephalocoele), gastrointestinal disturbances(G I upsets) like diarrhea, dyspepsia, fatigue, geographic tongue, poor growth / retardation, headache, insomnia, memory loss, paranoia, vitaligo, weakness, glossitis, smooth red tongue, metabolic disturbances, gray hair, possible link to certain types of mental illness, birth deformities / cleft palate, toxemia of pregnancy, premature birth
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