Folic acid is a vitamin that is involved in many important metabolic processes in the body. It is a vitamin of the B family and is also called vitamin B9. This vitamin is necessary for the processes of cell division and thus for the formation of new cells. Our body is constantly forming new cells. This is why folic acid plays a decisive role from the very beginning.
Properties of folic acid
The vitamin is sensitive to external influences such as heat, light and oxygen. Products containing folic acid must therefore be handled and stored carefully.
What does the human body need folic acid for?
Cell division takes place in the bone marrow, where the blood cells are formed.
However, these need to be constantly renewed. A folic acid deficiency therefore primarily affects the blood count. If the body, which can only store very small amounts of the vitamin, has used up its reserves, anaemia develops.
Pregnant women are recommended to take folic acid before pregnancy,
because this ensures a sufficient vitamin level in the body. Folic acid deficiency is suspected of favouring premature births and being involved in the development of heart defects. Women are therefore strongly recommended to take folic acid if they wish to have children.
Which foods contain folic acid?
Folic acid deficiency: diagnostics
A folic acid deficiency can be recognized by the appearance of the red blood cells. This is because in folic acid deficiency anaemia, the red blood cells are enlarged and increasingly stainable. This is easy to detect in the blood count and is the most important indication of a folic acid deficiency.
Symptoms of folic acid deficiency:
- Breathing difficulties
- mucosal inflammation
- Diseases of the heart - circulation - system
- Depression, irritability
- Increased bleeding tendency
Consequences of folic acid deficiency:
- loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- During pregnancy: miscarriage or malformation of the embryo
- Depending on the cell deficiency heart and breathing difficulties
- Increased bleeding tendency and weakness of the immune system
Folic acid deficiency: causes
A folic acid deficiency can occur in the following cases
- For chronic - inflammatory intestinal diseases
- For long-term antibiotic therapy
- During pregnancy / lactation due to an increased folic acid requirement
What are the side effects of folic acid?
Side effects of folic acid are currently not known. If taken in very high doses, it can lead to sleep disorders, gastrointestinal problems and depression.
How should folic acid be taken?
Folic acid should be taken with food. Green vegetables are a good way to cover the requirement of this vitamin. However, many people have difficulty eating enough vegetables. Therefore, an additional intake in the form of food supplements makes sense.