Folic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin.
Folic acid is an important constituent of DNA and RNA, the genetic material that controls the growth and rebuilding of cells. Therefore folic acid it stimulates effect of the immune system and may help prevent some forms of cancer. Healthy hair, nails, skin, mucous membranes and blood all depends on folic acid. Foods that are naturally high in folic acid include leafy vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce), fruits (such as bananas, melons, and lemons) beans, yeast, mushrooms, meat (such as beef liver and kidney), orange juice, and tomato juice. Healthy food provides sufficient amounts of folic acid, but needs increase during pregnancy and in some diseases such as cancer.
Recommended daily dose
- Man – 200 micrograms
- Women – 180 micrograms
- Pregnant women – 400 micrograms
All people need folic acid. But folic acid is very important for women who are able to get pregnant. When a woman has not enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can prevent major birth defects, including:
– Spina bifida, which occurs when an unborn baby’s spinal column does not close to protect the spinal cord. As a result, the nerves that control leg movements and other functions do not work. Children with spina bifida often have lifelong disabilities. They may also need many surgeries.
– Anencephaly is when most or all of the brain does not develop. Babies with this problem die before or shortly after birth.
The results of some studies suggest that folic acid might also help to prevent other types of birth defects.
Folic acid also helps keep your blood healthy. Not getting enough can cause anemia. Experts think that folic acid might also play a role in: heart health and preventing cell changes that may lead to cancer.