Why does the body really need foods rich in folic acid?

Articles Apr 09, 2020 13:04

The most important role of folic acid is to prevent neural tube defects in babies. It can also promote hair and skin health. Need to understand how to prevent folic acid deficiency.

Folate in foods and folic acid in supplements or are formed through a number of important biochemical reactions in the body. This vitamin B9 is responsible for the synthesis of red blood cells. It helps prevent anemia, cardiovascular disease and kidney problems. Here are the effects of folic acid.

The amazing benefits of folic acid for health

1. Can reduce the risk of neural tube defects in children

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are a common complex birth defect of the central nervous system (CNS). This is due to incomplete neural tube completion during embryonic development.

Only 1% of babies born with an unsealed nerve tube do not have a disability. The rest often lose sensation in the skin, deformities in the hips, knees and legs. They have a reduced ability to walk, loss of control over urination, and often require surgical intervention. Folic acid supplements are recommended for all affected women during pregnancy.

Why does the body really need foods rich in folic acid?

In addition, this vitamin is also involved in the methylation reaction. The methylation of some enzymes and proteins may be essential for neural tube assembly.

The Public Health Service of America recommends that every pregnant woman of age should use 400 micrograms (mcg) daily. However, only about 30% of women are able to take this supplement seriously.

Some mechanisms of action of folic acid are currently under study. Hopefully, folic acid supplementation is safe to contribute to minimizing neural tube defects in infants.

2. Can prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)

Studies are concerned about the role of homocysteine ​​amino acids in cardiovascular diseases. Even increasing homocysteine ​​levels do not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Although when the disease forms, folic acid can be one of the effective treatment nutrients.

The link between them is still under study. But there is an opinion that homocysteine ​​can cause blood clots, dilate blood vessels and thicken artery walls.

A study conducted on 1980 Finnish men for 10 years found a link between folate and homocysteine. The results identified a significant inverse correlation between folate intake and heart attack for men.

Therefore, 400 mcg of folic acid, 2 mg of vitamin B6 and 6 mcg of vitamin B12 are the supplements used in treatment.

Folic acid also reduces artery wall thickness so it helps prevent atherosclerosis. But some studies are still incomplete when determining the efficacy of this supplement for people at high risk.

3. May reduce the risk of cancer

Folate plays a key role in the synthesis of DNA and RNA, methylation and cell division. All these processes are very important for the functioning of the body. The overall manifestation of these molecular errors is cancer.

It is thought that cancer arises from DNA destruction and the uncontrolled activation of genes. Because of folate's role in DNA and RNA synthesis and methylation, insufficient intake of folic acid will contribute to cancer. Lack of nucleotides and defect repair processes of DNA can promote tumor growth.

Why does the body really need foods rich in folic acid?

Experimental results show a link between folate deficiency and specific cancers. Therefore, eating folate rich fruits and vegetables may reduce the incidence of cancer.

However, recent experiments have not shown specific results on the effects and effects of folic acid on the incidence of specific cancers or cancers.

A weak correlation between folate intake (from food or supplement) has been identified with breast and colorectal cancer. Therefore, the link between folate and cancer risk is still unclear.

4. Can treat anemia in women and children

Folic acid helps produce red blood cells (RBCs) that help carry oxygen throughout the body. If the body does not produce enough red blood cells it can cause anemia.

Anemia develops abnormally with 40% more in folic acid deficiency women than in control women. These results suggest the role of folate in the RBCs process.

Folates in the form of 5.10 methylene-THF (tetrahydrofolates), are essential in the synthesis of DNA nucleotides. In the absence of folate, ie, 5.10 methylene-THF, inhibits DNA synthesis.

RBCs are produced in the bone marrow of red bone, where the rate of cell division is very high. If folate is missing, primary blood cells can divide but genetic material cannot. The result is an increase in intracellular volume, but no increase in genetic material. Therefore, red blood cells look bulging, causing anemia.

Therefore, folic acid supplements can reduce anemia. It is essential for older women and pregnant women. 

It is the object most likely to suffer from anemia because of years of menstrual blood loss and high nutritional needs.

Mode of exchange of folic acid

• Folic acid is first converted to dihydrofolate (DHF) and then to tetrahydrofolate (THF) to activate / catalyze metabolism.

• The enzyme process is catalyzed by the DHF reducing enzyme (DHFR).

• THF can be converted into biologically active L-methylfolate by the methylenetetrahydrofolate (MTHFR) enzyme.

• This basic transformation is necessary to provide L-methylfolate for nucleotide synthesis in DNA and RNA synthesis, DNA methylation, and homocysteine ​​metabolism.

• L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (L-methylfolate) is a superior form of folate micronutrients.

• Folate exchange in plasma and related to biochemical processes. This form of folate is absorbed in the liver and is used for other basic purposes in the body.

5. Folic acid is necessary for pregnant women and children

Because it is essential for DNA and protein synthesis, folate plays a fundamental role in fetal growth and development. That is why folate needs increase for pregnant women. When enough folic acid is present, the embryonic cells differentiate into tissues and organs.

The neural tube is one of the earliest formed structures. First of all, this structure is flattened but then develops into tubules only 1 month after the fetus forms. This neural tube grows into the brain and spinal cord.

Why does the body really need foods rich in folic acid?

When there is not enough folic acid, the cells in this structure cannot grow fully and the differentiation of the neural tube into the spinal cord and brain is not complete.

In addition, the results of observational studies suggest that folic acid may be needed during labor. Folic acid supplementation may prevent preterm delivery. It can also prevent miscarriage, stillbirth, multiple pregnancy, etc.

Studies seem to care and recommend folic acid supplements for a period of 1 year before trying to get pregnant.

6. Helps manage polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS affects at least 10-15% of women of childbearing age. It reduces egg cell quality. PCOS syndrome is one of the causes of in vitro fertilization (IVF) failure.

Hormone therapies, lifestyle changes, and diet can help. Women with PCOS should take more folic acid, vitamins D, C and B12, digestive fiber, minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

They should also cut down on total fat intake, saturated fatty acids and cholesterol because these substances can trigger cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These substances can even disrupt ovarian function.

In vitro fertilization treatment patients have shown better fertilization rate and embryo quality. Folic acid also restores ovulation in some women.

Watch next: Folic Acid Foods – Top 10 Foods Rich in Folic Acid Which Can Prevent Birth Defects

7. Prevent hair loss

Folate helps to make red blood cells and facilitates the transport of oxygen in the body. It may also help the hair structure tissue. Folates can stimulate the proliferation of hair follicle cells. It can prevent gray hair and regulate sebaceous gland activity in the scalp.

Women who eat turnips, kale, Brussels sprouts, green beans, white beans, asparagus, oysters and eggs can boost folate content. Adding 400-1000mcg of folic acid to your diet is another way to prevent hair loss.

Why does the body really need foods rich in folic acid?

However, some studies show no significant difference in serum folate in patients treated for hair loss. That means, folic acid supplementation alone may or may not control hair loss.

Therefore, one can consider the effects of other vitamins like biotin, vitamin B12, D, etc.

8. Can help cope with depression and anxiety

A major function of folate is to provide methylation reactions. Most biological molecules need to be methylated to become biologically active. The active form of folate or folic acid, 5-methyl tetrafolate, triggers such reactions.

The neurotransmitters in the central nervous system also need to be methylated after being synthesized, so there should be enough folate. It has been shown that low levels of folate can cause severe depression and anxiety to persist. Folates can also help reduce homocysteine ​​levels.

Elevated homocysteine ​​levels in the body cause oxidative stress in the brain and central nervous system. Taking folic acid supplements may reduce homocysteine ​​content and oxidative stress levels. If you get enough folates, you tend to respond better to anti-depressant medications.

9. Can treat kidney disease and improve kidney function

Hyperhomocysteine ​​is a homocysteine ​​buildup in 85% of patients with chronic kidney disease because of impaired renal function. The hyperhomocysteine ​​index indicates the health of cardiovascular and weak kidneys.

One way to control hypercholesterolemia is to take folic acid supplements. Folic acid or folate is important in converting homocysteine ​​to methionine which is another amino acid. Without folate, homocysteine ​​increases due to non-conversion, eventually affecting the kidneys.

Studies suggest that supplementing with folic acid may only lower homocysteine ​​levels but not activate it. You can also find debates on that comment. This comment is still controversial.

Trials conducted over 3 years found no effect of high-dose folic acid on kidney health. Therefore, taking folic acid supplements can only reduce the severity and not prevent or treat kidney disease.

Watch next: Foods With Natural Folic Acid

Related Topics