Folic acid is a type of vitamin B complex, and it is a type of water-soluble vitamin that dissolves well in water. It is widely distributed in green plants, so its name is said to be derived from the Latin word ‘folium’, meaning leaf. Folic acid is an essential nutrient for the synthesis of nucleic acids and amino acids. In particular, it acts as a coenzyme for the enzyme involved in the replication of DNA, the nucleic acid that makes genes. It plays an essential role in normal cell division and growth and the production of red blood cells. When folic acid, which plays an essential role in the body, is insufficient inside the body, it can cause various abnormalities and at the same time cause the onset of various diseases. Now, let’s take a look at the various symptoms that occur when there is a lack of folic acid in the body. Symptoms of folic acid deficiency
1. Development of megaloblastic anemia
Folic acid is a nutrient that plays an essential role in blood production by promoting the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. Therefore, folic acid deficiency can result in the formation of abnormally shaped large, immature megaloblasts because the red blood cells cannot synthesize DNA. And because these megaloblasts have a lower ability to transport oxygen than normal red blood cells, they cause megaloblastic anemia, and can cause various abnormal symptoms such as headache, fatigue, lethargy, general weakness, and palpitations.
2. Elevated Homocysteine Levels
Many protein-containing foods contain methionine, one of the essential amino acids. Under normal circumstances, this methionine is converted into a substance called cysteine that aids in metabolic activity during the process of synthesis in the body. However, when there is a problem with the normal metabolic process of the protein, it turns into homocysteine, a toxic by-product in a mutant form. When this homocysteine is overproduced, it not only promotes the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels, but also damages the vascular endothelium due to the increase in LDL cholesterol. As folic acid is directly involved in the metabolism of methionine, insufficient intake of folic acid raises the level of homocysteine in the body, increasing the risk of various vascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis and myocardial infarction.
Other symptoms Folic acid is known as a nutrient that plays an essential role in the formation and normal development of the cranial and spinal nerves of the fetus within the first month of pregnancy. Therefore, a lack of folic acid in early pregnancy not only increases the likelihood of developing disorders in the fetus’ neural tube formation, but also increases the risk of congenital spinal cord or brain disorders. In addition, the need for folic acid greatly increases during infancy and growth, when cell division occurs a lot, so a lack of folic acid intake at this time can affect normal growth and development. In addition, a deficiency of folic acid can cause gastrointestinal disorders because it also affects the gastrointestinal mucosa, where cell division occurs very quickly. Recently, studies have also been published that a lack of folic acid intake increases the risk of tooth decay. Solutions to prevent folic acid deficiency
In order to prevent problems caused by insufficient intake of folic acid, it is important to eat foods high in folic acid in a balanced way. Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, sesame leaves, sagebrush, green onion, lettuce, leek, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, bananas and kiwis are known to be abundant in various foods. In addition to taking folic acid from various vegetables and fruits, taking folic acid supplements or folic acid fortified foods is a good way to prevent folic acid deficiency. Folic acid in supplements or fortified foods has been reported to be 1.7 times more bioavailable than naturally occurring folic acid.
The recommended daily intake of folic acid is 400 μg DFE, but even if you consume more than that, there is no problem because it is excreted in the urine. However, if you take too much of it than necessary, it can cause buildup in the kidneys, which can lead to kidney damage. It also interferes with the normal metabolism of essential minerals such as zinc. In addition, when folic acid-fortified foods or folic acid supplements are taken on an empty stomach for a long time, vitamin B12 deficiency may appear, and in severe cases, side effects that cause damage to the nervous system may appear. Therefore, it is important to avoid indiscriminate excess intake of 1,000 μg or more per day, and it is also recommended to improve the habit of taking folic acid supplements on an empty stomach.
We have looked at the various symptoms that appear due to insufficient intake of folic acid. I hope that the various information introduced will be helpful and I hope you have a healthy and active day today.