What is folic acid?
The general sentiment around health and hygiene has greatly increased over the last couple of years and more so in the last few months. People are becoming increasingly conscious of the food they eat, the lifestyle they live, and how it all affects their body, both internally and externally. A lot of people either switch up their diet and some even turn vegan for health reasons while others take the health of supplements to make up for the lost nutrients and vitamins that their diet is unable to provide them on a daily basis.
The increase in supplement intake has considerably shot up with more and more people turning towards it for different health concerns. Some take it for the health and development of their overall body while some take supplements that target a certain area of their body. This stands true for both men and women. Even though it is not recommended that children take supplements, however, in certain cases, due to unavoidable circumstances, even that is being done.
With all the different supplements available in the market, it can sometimes become confusing for a person to choose which one they should take. Today, through this article, we aim to educate you about folic acid which is a form of B Vitamin, and has multiple benefits for the body when taken correctly. Before starting any sort of medication, it is always advisable to consult an expert and only then start with it as it is always better to be informed than half-informed and better to be safe than sorry, especially when it is related to matters of the health.
Through this article, we aim to educate you on what folic acid is, what are its various benefits and uses, are there any potential benefits to it, if there are any potential side effects, what is the recommended dosage, what are the other medications it interacts with and how to store it properly.
Folic acid is a water-soluble form of B Vitamin which is essential for the proper development of the human body. The other name which it is known by is folate, which occurs naturally in food like green vegetables (broccoli, spinach and lettuce, asparagus and okra), fruits (like melons, banana, and lemons), meats (such as beef kidney and beef liver), yeast, mushroom, and certain beans. Juice of tomato and orange is also said to naturally have folate present in them. In some parts of the world, this acid is artificially added to certain food items like cereals, cookies, crackers, bread, and pasta as directed by the federal law.
What are the Benefits and Uses of Folic Acid?
A lot of research and studies have been conducted on folic acid benefits and how exactly it is beneficial to the human body. We have listed down a few of those benefits for you to have a better understanding of this magic ingredient.
- It is taken by women who will become pregnant or are already pregnant to prevent any neural tube defects and miscarriages.
- It is used for treating hyperhomocysteinemia or high blood levels of homocysteine and even folate deficiency or low blood levels of folate.
- When conditions like a decline in memory, a decline in thinking skills, depression, and stroke are higher in people than what it should be as per their age, then folic acid is used.
- It helps the body develop new red blood cells which help in carrying oxygen throughout the body. Deficiency of these can lead to fatigue, a pale complexion, weakness, and even anaemia.
- It is important for the repair and synthesis of DNA and other genetic material as well which is necessary for cells to divide.
- It contributes to the overall development of the human body.
Folic acid uses are not just limited to the ones listed above. These are just a few of the common ones.
Are there other potential benefits of Folic Acid?
The common benefits of folic acid have already been mentioned above, however, if we were to look at some other potential folic acid tablet uses, then this is what you should know about some of its likely effects:
- Treatment of serious kidney diseases – when an individual is suffering from end-stage renal disease or ESRD, 85% of the time it is because of high levels of homocysteine. Consuming an iron-folic acid tablet is said to lower the homocysteine levels and make the person recover.
- Toxicity caused due to the drug methotrexate – consuming iron-folic acid in some work reduces vomiting and nausea which are some of the possible side effects one faces during methotrexate treatment.
- Reduced depression – folic acid when consumed along with antidepressants is said to show improvements in the symptoms for people who suffer from depression.
- Treatment of vitiligo – vitiligo, a disease that causes white patches to develop on the skin can be improved by the consumption of folic acid.
Tablets of iron-folic acid vary in their dosage and hence is it is best to take it based on the amount recommended by your doctor.
The relation between Folic acid and Pregnancy
Folic acid during pregnancy is highly recommended by all doctors. It is not only important for the body of the mother but also contributes to the development of the baby inside the womb. It is one of the most essential nutrients that a pregnant woman must include in her daily diet right from the initial days of her pregnancy or even get the required daily amount with the help of supplements if required.
- Treatment of Defects due to neural tube birth – pregnant women are advised to have about 600-800 mcg of folic acid every day either from the food they eat or through supplements right from the first month of their pregnancy. On the other hand, pregnant women who have previously dealt with neural tube birth defects are advised to have around 4000 mcg of folic acid on a daily basis.
- Treatment of gum disease during pregnancy – during pregnancy some women tend to face gum disease. This can be solved or improved in a harmless way with the consumption of folic acid.
The prescribed amount of folic acid pregnancy dose differs from woman to woman and no one individual should blindly follow what someone else is doing. Each body has its own unique needs and requirements and it is best to get medical examinations done and consult a doctor before starting any sort of supplements or diet change. It is best to take precautions for your baby’s life and your own life in every way possible.
Buy Purayati Folic Acid Tablets/Capsules
The possible Side effects and safety measures to keep in mind
There are really no folic acid side effects that an individual must be aware of. The most that a person might experience is an upset stomach, which is also limited to rare cases.
The reason why there is no cause for concern even if an individual takes more folate than necessary is that since it is water-soluble, it will naturally pass through urine. However, having said that, there are certain cases in which if a person is suffering from a certain disease, then they must avoid taking folic acid. It has been explained in greater detail in the subsequent parts of the article.
Some Precautions & Warnings to be aware of while taking Folic Acid
- Certain studies conducted by experts have shown that high levels of unmetabolized folic acid in the blood may increase the risk of autism and cause negative effects on the neurocognitive development of an individual.
- A high dosage of synthetic folic acid may also lead to Vitamin B deficiencies in an individual.
- Older people who have low Vitamin B Complex in their body may face mental decline if they take high doses of folic acid.
Vitamin B 12 contains minerals that can be found in food such as eggs, fish, beef, chicken, and fruits, and hence the stress on these foods must be higher for an individual who is deficient in this.
Recommended Dosage and how to take Folic Acid
The folic acid dosage varies from individual to individual and increases as a person grows older. A newborn will require about 65 mcg while someone who is 4-8 years of age will require 200 mcg of folic acid.
When a woman is going to give birth then the folic acid pregnancy dose will also differ before pregnancy, during pregnancy (400-800 mcg) and after pregnancy. Even after pregnancy, the dose will differ between a woman who is breastfeeding (500 mcg) and one who is not.
Apart from the dosage differing when it comes to age, it also differs depending on the reason you are taking it for. Some examples for when folic acid is taken by mouth has been stated below for reference:
- For reducing folic acid deficiency, the typical dosage varies from 250 mcg to 1 mg per day.
- For reducing colon cancer risk the recommended amount is 400 mcg per day.
- For the treatment of depression, 200-250 mcg daily is usually prescribed.
- For treating vitiligo or the skin disorder that causes white patches on the skin, a dosage of about 5 mg is usually prescribed twice a day.
When folic acid is applied to the skin it is usually when a woman who is pregnant and has gum disease. In that case, mouth wash for one minute is recommended twice a day.
When folic acid is given by needle to an individual who is suffering from homocysteine and also has end-stage renal disease, then a dose of 10 mg post-hemodialysis is given three times a week in the vein.
Can you Overdose on Folic Acid?
It is not possible for an individual to overdose on folic acid since it is water soluble and will leave the body through the urine or sweat, however, that does not mean one must take any dosage of folic acid supplement that they seem right. It is said that adverse effects may be experienced if a dose of synthetic folic acid is over the set upper limit of 1000 mcg. It is best to avoid taking more than the upper limit mentioned.
Each body is unique and has its own requirements, which means, that requirement of folic acid for men will differ from that of woman. This is why is it is best to only start consuming any sort of supplement only after proper consultation has been done.
What does Folic Acid Interact with?
Folic acid interactions with medications in certain cases are known which might make it unsafe for an individual to take. Some of the known medication it interacts with are:
- Sulfasalazine – this is used to treat ulcerative colitis
- Methotrexate – it is used to treat autoimmune diseases and certain cancers.
- Epilepsy Medications – medications such as Carbatrol, depacon, and Dilantin are known to interact with folic acid.
If a person is suffering from any of the following diseases, then they should consult a doctor before taking folic acid:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Celiac Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Kidney Dialysis
Different individuals will react differently to different interactions and different medications and hence it is utmost imperative to know your own body completely and what suits it and what does not especially if you are suffering from any pre-existing disease of any nature.
Storage and handling practises to keep in mind
There are certain storage and handling practises to be kept in mind when it comes to folic acid supplements or just any in general.
- Folic acid supplements must be stored only in a dry and cool place.
- They must be kept away from humid environments.
- Keep away from the reach of children.
- Always close the cap of the bottle properly after every use as exposure to oxygen and moisture can cause the medicine to go bad.
As mentioned above, these storage precautions extend to all medicines and supplements and must be followed diligently. If a medicine is past its expiry date, please throw it away immediately and do not continue to consume it.
There are so many folic acid tablets available in the market that it sometimes might get confusing when you go to buy one. It is important to buy from a brand that completes trusts their products and everything that has gone into the making of it. Purayti is one such brand that is there to fulfil the gap that exists in the market when it comes to quality and reliable products. Their health supplements are made of the highest quality ingredients, go through multiple quality assurance tests, and are made available to their consumers at the most honest prices.
Irrespective of the brand and the form in which you choose to take folic acid, it is always advisable that you do your full research, get all your doubts and questions cleared, and only then proceed to make something a part of your daily life. Not everything that works for someone else will work for you and not everything that someone else is consuming should be consumed by you also.