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Video: Folic Acid: Its Importance For Human Health
2023 Author: Lynn Laird | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 21:10
In recent decades, we have been very sensitive to abnormalities in newborns. For this reason, the intake of folic acid by a pregnant woman, as well as a balanced diet are of crucial importance for the unborn baby and for strengthening the immune system of the expectant mother.
What is folic acid?
Since folic acid is the artificial version of vitamin folate, also known as vitamin B9, it is used to treat or prevent vitamin B9 deficiency anemia symptoms.
This water-soluble B vitamin is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. As it helps the body to produce healthy red blood cells, its presence in the food of the expectant mother is decisive for the correct development of the brain, skull and spinal cord of the fetus.
Development of the embryo
So, during pregnancy and even before the baby is conceived, you need to take folic acid regularly to avoid abnormalities like spina bifida or to reduce the side effects of certain medications taken during this time.
Some highlights about folic acid
Usually, folate is available on prescription and comes in tablet or liquid form that you swallow with meals. It can also be bought in low doses in pharmacies and supermarkets.
Folic acid can combine with ferrous fumarate and ferrous sulfate to treat iron deficiency anemia and also with other vitamins and minerals, as a multivitamin and mineral supplement. Most adults and children can take folic acid once a day, but sometimes it is enough to swallow once a week. If you are pregnant or trying to have a baby, it is recommended that you take folic acid until the fetus is 12 weeks old. It helps your baby to grow normally.
Mild and rare side effects
You are unlikely to have side effects, but you may lose your appetite, feel bloated and uncomfortable. Fortunately, it doesn't last long.
In any case, we advise you to inform your doctor before starting to take folate. This is recommended if you have ever had an allergic reaction to folic acid or any other medication, if you have low vitamin B12 levels, or have pernicious anemia. Likewise, be careful with cancer, (unless you also have folate deficiency anemia), some type of renal hemodialysis dialysis or a stent in the heart.
Serious side effects
There are, however, a group of serious side effects that you may rarely experience:
- a rash including itching, redness, blistering, swelling or peeling of the skin
- a feeling of tightness in the chest or throat and therefore it is difficult to breathe or speak
- your mouth, face, throat, tongue, lips, start to swell
- a serious allergic reaction that requires immediate treatment in hospital
How to deal with side effects?
Provided you feel sick to your stomach, take folic acid with or immediately after a meal or snack to relieve nausea. If you are pregnant, morning sickness can be very distressing.
To avoid losing your appetite, you can eat when you usually expect to be hungry. If it helps, have more snacks than usual, snacking on something when you are hungry. Enjoy nutritious snacks high in calories and protein, such as dried fruits and nuts.
If you experience bloating and gas, it may help to eat smaller meals frequently, eat and drink slowly, and exercise regularly. If symptoms worsen, contact your doctor immediately.
In which cases to take the CCD?
If you're wondering when, how, and how much folic acid to take, read the lines below. Note that how much to take depends on why you need folic acid.
Before and during early pregnancy
The usual dose for most women trying to get pregnant and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is 400 micrograms once a day. If there is a higher risk of neural tube defects, your doctor will recommend a higher dose of 5 mg, taken once daily.
Folate deficiency anemia
For treatment to be effective, the usual dose for adults and children over 1 year of age is 5 mg once daily for 4 months. Your doctor may increase the dose to 15 mg per day. If your child is under 12 months, the doctor will determine the correct amount by calculating the baby's weight.
To prevent anemia, the usual dose for adults and children over 12 years old to take every 1 to 7 days is 5 mg.
In a nutshell, it depends on age, diet, and any other health concerns you might have.
Adjunct treatment for mental health disorders
Aside from the importance of folic acid for a normal pregnancy, people with depression have been shown to have lower blood folate levels than people without this problem.
According to studies, folic acid supplements can reduce depressive symptoms when used in combination with antidepressant medications. At the same time, when used with antidepressants, treatment with folate supplements, including folic acid and methylfolate, is associated with a significantly greater reduction in depressive symptoms, compared to drug therapy. antidepressant alone.
In addition, a review of 7 studies found that treatment with folate supplements and antipsychotic drugs led to a reduction in negative symptoms in people with schizophrenia, compared to antipsychotic drugs alone.
Reduced risk factors for heart disease
With folate supplements, including folic acid, you can improve your heart health and reduce the number of factors that cause heart disease. It is true that the main culprit of these problems is an amino acid, especially homocysteine. When it has high levels, it leads to an increased risk of developing heart disease. Homocysteine blood levels are determined by both nutritional and genetic factors. So, by playing a major role in homocysteine metabolism, CCD actually reduces the risk of cardiovascular disorders.
Plus, folic acid supplements have been shown to improve blood circulation, which may help improve cardiovascular function.
Take concurrently with methotrexate
Compared to taking methotrexate, the usual dose of CCD for adults and children should be 5 mg once a week but on a different day from methotrexate. Some people take 1 mg to 5 mg once a day, except on the day they take their methotrexate.
In case of interaction with anti-epileptic drugs and with sulfasalazine, a doctor should be consulted.
How to take folate?
In general, you can take folic acid with or without food by swallowing the tablets whole with a glass of water.
If you are taking it in liquid form, it is necessary to measure the correct dose using a syringe or a plastic spoon. Above all, do not use a teaspoon because it does not give the exact amount. Mostly, the regular dose stays the same, except when the blood tests show that the treatment is not working.
What to do if you forget?
It's okay if you miss 1 or 2 doses, but if you forget to take your folic acid often or if you don't want to take it at all, talk to your doctor.
If you stop taking it regularly during pregnancy, your baby's risk of having neural tube defects may increase dangerously.
Your symptoms may get worse or new ones may appear if you have folic acid deficiency anemia. In addition, you will be more likely to have side effects from methotrexate, in case you take it at the same time.
Assuming that you swallow folic acid once a day but skipped the exact time, then take your missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, just take your next dose as usual. When the time to remind yourself is the day you take your methotrexate, wait one day and take your missed dose the next day. Follow the same regimen if your treatment is weekly. That is, folic acid and methotrexate should be taken on different days. Never take two doses to make up for a forgotten one. Either way, blackouts can be avoided by an alarm.
If, on the contrary, you involuntarily double the dose, still after having forgotten, do not worry.
Of course, there are alternatives to folic acid such as folinic acid and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate which are the most widely used in food supplements. Diet should not be ignored, especially all nutrients containing folate.
Eat green leafy vegetables
Nuts, legumes, citrus fruits, pasta, cereals
For example, spinach, lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, radishes, papaya, raspberries, oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, lentils, beans, peas, avocado, cabbage. Brussels, cauliflower, walnuts, celery and corn.