Folic acid

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Folic acid, also commonly known as folate, falls into the family of B vitamins, B9 to be exact. Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health. Folate aids in the production of DNA and RNA. Folate leads to the production of S-adenosyl-methionine, the main alkyl group donor used in the process of methylation, an epigenetic mechanism[2]. Vitamin B deficiency can lead to hypomethylation of mutated genes and therefore carcinogenesis[1]. It is especially important when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, such as in infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy. Folic acid also works closely with vitamin B12 to help make red blood cells and help iron work properly in the body.

It is common for one to have low levels of folate in their body. Some contributing factors to this include alcoholism, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and certain medication. A lack of folate body on a typical being can result in poor growth, tongue inflammation, gingivitis, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, irritability, forgetfulness, and mental sluggishness.

A daily amount of 400 mg would be sufficient to meet daily requirements. Folate supplements which reach this requirement are a must especially for women who intend to have a child in the near future to prevent Neural Tube Defects (NTD) as NTD occurs shortly after conception. Impregnated women should ideally consume 600 mg of folate per day[2].

References

  1. Lauren Pecorino, University of Greenwich, molecular biology of cancer, 4th edition, Oxford university press, 2016
  2. University of Maryland Medical Center - http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b9-folic-acid#ixzz3K7f1xSp2
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