Uses of Folic Acid

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Folic Acid Uses: A Brief Overview

Folic acid is one of the essential water-soluble vitamins (except vitamin C) that comprise Vitamin B Complex. Another name for Folic Acid is folate or vitamin B9. The brains of the infants are preserved with the help of vitamin B9 along with the other components. Vitamin B9 also assists in restricting hearing loss and also forms red blood cells. Nucleic acids and all genetic materials consist of Folic Acid. Folic acid benefits are numerous. To know about these benefits, we must first know the uses of folic acid in detail. 

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Physical and Chemical Properties of Folic Acid

The Properties of Folic Acid are as Follows:

Chemical formula

C19H19N7O6

Molecular weight

441.404 g/mol

Density

1.6+/- 0.1 g/cm3

IUPAC name

(2S)-2-[(4-{[(2-amino-4-hydroxypyridine-6-yl)methyl]amino}phenyl)formamido]pentanedioic acid

Solubility

Soluble in water

What is Folic Acid used for?

Generally, Folate is found in citrus fruits and dark green vegetables. The artificially created vitamin B9 is termed Folic Acid. The general folic acid function includes creating genetic material, human body development and red blood synthesis. The four significant Folic acid uses in our daily life can be classified under four heads:

a) Folic Acid for Pregnancy

b) Folic Acid benefits for men

c) Folic Acid benefits for skin

d) Folic acid benefits for hair

a) Folic Acid for Pregnancy:

One of the major folic acid benefits is enriching the foetus and preventing defects at the time of giving birth. The intake of folic acid during pregnancy guards the baby against neural tube defect, miscarriage, low birth weight, premature birth and weak growth in the womb.

b) Folic Acid benefits for Men:

Folic acid is a very essential ingredient from the men’s health perspective. It stabilizes the sperm count which eventually assists in the procedure of conception. Hence, Folic acid is a must for would-be fathers. 

c) Folic Acid benefits for Skin:

Folic acid encourages the maintenance of the natural beauty of the skin. The main folic acid functions in the skin include its role as anti-ageing, antioxidant and moisturizer material. The quality of the skin is enhanced by the application of Folic acid. Acne and dead cells are treated by folic acid. The dead cells are removed very effectively by it. Hence, the skin remains healthy with a natural glow. 

d) Folic Acid benefits for Hair:

Folic acid plays a crucial role in the growth of hair. The procedure of blood circulation in the scalp is regulated by Folic acid. Premature greying of hair and hair loss is caused by the deficiency of Folic acid or folate. 

e) Other uses of Folic Acid are:

  • Gives support to the digestive system.

  • Cures depression.

  • Restricts diabetes.

  • Folic acid is an important ingredient in preventing cancer and memory loss.

  • Different infections such as gum infection are cured by folate. 

  • It is good for the heart. 

What are the Natural Sources of Vitamin B9?

Few natural sources of folic acid include:

  • Okra

  • Artichokes

  • Turnip greens

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Asparagus

  • Lentils

  • Bread

  • Cakes

  • Energy drink 

  • White pasta

  • White rice

  • Protein bars

  • Crackers

  • Cookies

  • Breakfast cereals etc

Dietary Sources of Folic Acid 

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What is the difference between Folic Acid and Folate?

Different types or forms of vitamin B9 are termed folic acid and folate. The natural form of vitamin B9 in food is called folate whereas the synthetic form of the same is termed folic acid. The basic difference between the two is that a folic acid is an artificial form of vitamin B9 which is manmade while folate is the naturally found vitamin B9.

What is the Dosage of Folic Acid?

Folic acid, as already mentioned before, is a synthetic product available in the form of tablets in the market. The naturally occurring folic acid, or folate to be precise, can be taken through food. The recommended dietary allowance of folic acid for an adult is 1mcg. The following table contains the dietary folate requirements:

Quantity

Type

Dietary Folate Equivalent (DFE)

1 mcg

Natural folate is taken with food

1 DFE

1 mcg

Synthetic folate is taken with food

1.7 DFE

1 mcg

Synthetic Folic acid is taken on an empty stomach

2 DFE

   

Did You Know?

Hair loss can be prevented by the regular intake of Folic acid. Doctors have suggested after various researches that folic acid can be a significant supplement for the growth of hair. The basic folic acid function is maintaining healthy cell growth. Cells are found in skin tissues, hair and nails and they do not differ from each other. Thus folic acid can be considered as a possible hair growth treatment measure. When it comes to cells, the red blood cells are also nurtured by this particular compound. 

The folic uses are myriad. Thus it is one of the essential nutrients that must be taken according to the RDA and foods rich in this nutrient should be included in the daily diet.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Causes and Symptoms of Folic acid Deficiency?

Ans: The causes of deficiency of folic acid are as follows:

  • Absence of fresh fruits, vegetables and fortified cereals in the diet

  • Various diseases such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, certain types of cancers, acute kidney problems that need dialysis

  • Genetics

  • Side effects of different medications

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol

The symptoms of deficiency of folic acid are as follows:

  • Fatigue

  • Grey hair

  • Mouth sores

  • Tongue swelling

  • Growth problems

The symptoms of anaemia that are associated with folic acid definiciency are:

  • Severe fatigue

  • Weakness

  • Lethargy

  • Pale skin

  • Shortness of breath

  • Irritability

2. What is the Role played by Folic Acid to Counter Diabetes?

Ans: Among various roles played by Folic acid to counter several human diseases, one of the major roles is the counter of diabetes. Homocysteine levels can be significantly reduced by regular consumption of folic acid supplementation (FAS). This, in turn, can initiate the lowering of cardiovascular (CV) risk among patients with type II diabetes. The lowering of cardiovascular risk is one of the major factors as far as Type II diabetes patients are concerned. Most Type II diabetes patients collapse due to cardiovascular failure. Hence, folic acid plays a pivotal role in preventing type II diabetes.