Low folic acid: why does it occur and what are its consequences?

On this occasion we want to tell you what are the consequences of having a low folic acid content and why it happens. This is an essential nutrient that has important actions in the human body. For example, used to make cells for skin, nails and hair. Therefore, when the required amount is not provided, there may be complications.

This substance, also known as vitamin B9, is found in its inactive form (folate) in foods such as green leafy vegetables, legumes and fortified cereals. While it can be incorporated through these, there are some situations where resorting to dietary supplements is advisable.

How much folic acid do I need?

The body needs folic acid to make deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and other types of genetic material. As, the daily amount that the body must ingest depends on age and life stage running through Nursing and pregnant women have higher requirements for the compound.

Second scientific proofadults of both sexes need 400 micrograms of vitamin B9 per day and this value rises to 500 or 600 micrograms in the cases mentioned.

Folic acid supplementation in pregnancy.
Pregnant women have a higher folic acid requirement, so they are supplemented.

Why can there be shortcomings?

Of course, if you do not consume foods containing this nutrient, your intake will not be covered. However, that’s not the only reason it can happen. According to the magazine Journal of Obstetrics and Women’s Health there are other causes besides pregnancy and breastfeeding. Among them are the following:

  • Inadequate intestinal absorption: due to malabsorption syndromes such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease or peptic ulcer disease.
  • Diseases that increase requirements: cancer or kidney disease, especially when accompanied by treatment of hemodialysis.
  • Chronic alcoholism: makes the use of this compound difficult.
  • Consumption of overcooked vegetables: as folate is easily destroyed.
  • Restrictive diets: which do not include a considerable number of source foods.
  • Excess of physical activity.
  • Drug Interactions: for example the metforminaspirin, antacids and oral contraceptives.
  • Gene mutations: those related to folate metabolism or transport.
  • Bariatric surgery.

What are the consequences of having a low folic acid content?

In all these situations, the typical symptoms of having a low folic acid content may appear. Second different studies, the consequences of this deficiency are varied. Let’s look in more detail below.

In pregnancy, a low folic acid content can lead to low birth weight, premature birth and birth defects.. These include neural tube defects (NTDs), congenital heart disease (CC), and cleft lip. This is a consequence of the fact that folate plays a crucial role in nucleic acid synthesis and cell division.

Another common disorder that occurs as a result of low folic acid content is macrocytic and megaloblastic anemia. This disease is characterized by a deficiency of red blood cells that acquire a large size. This is associated with a number of symptoms, such as constant fatigue, memory problems, sleep disturbances, pale skin and low weight.

THE science notes that folate helps prevent several types of cancer. However, it appears that this compound plays a double role, as it supplementation could protect against the onset of this condition in people who have low blood folate concentrationsbut it would also facilitate the growth of tumor lesions when serum levels are high.

Because folic acid is required for neurotransmitter synthesis, people with low levels of it may be more prone to depression and irritability. In this regard, it is suggested that supplementation with this nutrient would help improve response to antidepressant treatments.

Among other symptoms, the tongue becomes red and irritated causing a burning sensation. In addition, open sores in the mouth, changes in the appearance of hair or nails and gastrointestinal disturbances (diarrhea) may occur.

How is the diagnosis made?

Diagnosis of folic acid deficiency is made by blood tests. You can measure the liquid part, i.e. serum or red blood cells. It is normal for these to be larger than normal.

Subsequently, the cause of the deficiency must be evaluated, for which it may be necessary to carry out new analyzes or other investigations. The doctor will formulate the requests based on the initial suspicion.

How is low folic acid treated and prevented?

Assorted vegetables.
Folic acid can be obtained from vegetables, especially those that are deep green in color.

Since folate is present in several foods, the recommended amounts can be obtained by eating them. Therefore, to avoid its deficiency, it is advisable to consume a varied diet that contains the following:

  • Cow liver.
  • Vegetables: asparagus, Brussels sprouts and deep green leafy vegetables such as spinach, arugula and Swiss chard.
  • Whole grains: rice, oats, millet, rye and barley.
  • Fruits and their juices: especially oranges.
  • Beans and Peas: lentils, beans and chickpeas.
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and peanuts.
  • fortified foods: flours, breakfast cereals, rice and pasta. In this case, it must be expressed in the nutrition labeling.

In addition to this, folate supplements can be used, as long as they are recommended by the professional. Therefore, in the case of women who are planning a pregnancy and women who are recently pregnant, it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Low folic acid comes with risks

As you will see, vitamin B9 is essential for the proper functioning of the body, from the synthesis of cells to the development of the nervous system in the fetus. For all this and to avoid the consequences of not ingesting the necessary daily amount, It is advisable to follow a varied diet that includes the aforementioned foods.

Additionally, it is essential for pregnant women to keep their levels covered, especially during the first 3 months of pregnancy. It is in them that integration is contemplated as mandatory by art protocols gynecological.

The post Low folic acid: why does it occur and what are its consequences? first appeared on research-school

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