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Beginner’s guide: Folic Acid – Vitamin B9

Posted Nov 21 2008 4:35pm

Our body is made up of zillions of cells. They all make an organ and many organs make the system. Human body is having most complicated anatomy and physiology and hence, it required lots of researches in order to empathize it. A normal human being performing normal tasks is by dint of series of successful chemical reactions and other bodily equations. All the systems of the body require energy and nutrients to maintain and perform their day-to-day tasks. Vitamins are the groups of organic substances that are very essential in body for growth, development, maintenance and assimilation of the food we consume.

Folic acid, also known as Vitamin B9, pteroylglutamic acid or folate is one of those few important nutrients for the formation of red and white blood cells. Healthy cells keep human in homeostasis (metabolic equilibrium that keeps the human body physically and mentally stable) and these healthy cells depend upon the continued and flawless replication of our DNA. DNA can severely be harmed by catastrophic attacks by free radicals and therefore, adequate antioxidant status plays keyrole in maintaining cell health. Latest researches reveal that they are not only antioxidants that protect our DNA but Vitamin B, especially folic acids equally or probably even more potential in ensuring the proper replication of the DNA. The conclusion is further supported when we find deficiency of folic acid ending into some of the chronic diseases such as arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), Alzheimer’s disease, heart diseases, stroke, cervical and/or colon malignancy, hearing loss and the most popular one – neural tube defects.

Folinic acid, folic acid or folacin is necessary for the synthesis of adenine and thymine. They are two of the four nucleic acids that build up the genes, chromosomes and most importantly the DNA. It is essential for the metabolism of the body by which, the body converts food particles into the consumable forms and then absorbs nutrients from them. Folic acid is water-soluble Vitamin and hence, cannot be stored in the body as the fat-soluble Vitamins can be. It gets passed through urine and hence, a daily supplement of Vitamin B9 becomes mandatory.

Vitamin B9 supports Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C helping the body to destruct faulty, create new and use healthy proteins in the body. Folic acid also play important role in building up the body and providing strength and immunity to fight against various infections.

Deficiency in folic acid can result into ulcers, swollen tongue (termed as glossitis), menstrual problems, birth defects (baby’s brain or spine can be damaged) and anemia (low hemoglobin level in the blood resulting into paleness of the body, lethargy and low-immunity). The healthcare provider never misses to prescribe Vitamin B9 supplements to the pregnant woman or even to a lady who is planning to have baby. Health experts recommend daily supplementation of folic acid in the dosage of 250 mcg/day (for children), 400 mcg/day (for adults) and 600 mcg/day (for pregnant woman).

Fortunately, folic acid can be supplied in the form of pills. But then, there are natural sources that too provide enough folate. Beans and legumes, citrus fruits and juices, liver, poultry and shellfish, wheat bran and other whole grains are good sources of folate. One can also include dark green leafy vegetables that provide folic acid and also roughage (fiber) that help cleansing the intestines and prevent constipation making stools soft and easy to defecate.

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Thursday, December 27th, 2007 at 5:03 pm
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