What are the Main Benefits of Folic Acid?

Women are strongly advised to take folic acid during their pregnancy and while trying to conceive.  Folic acid is important for many bodily functions and is a key way to avoid the risk of several birth defects.  Additionally, getting adequate amounts of folic acid has a number of other, less commonly known, health benefits. shutterstock_201672500

What is folic acid?

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is also known by the name folate.  Naturally, the vitamin can be found in leafy green vegetables, beans, peas, and fruit.  Cereals and breads are often fortified with the vitamin.  This is due to a US government requirement.  It may be difficult to get your recommended dose from food alone.  Therefore, physicians suggest taking a supplement that contains the important vitamin.  In the body, folic acid helps to produce and repair cells.  Specifically, the body will have difficulty making red blood cells without enough folic acid, which can result in anemia.

What are the benefits of folic acid?

Folic acid has been shown to be beneficial in treating a number of health issues, including:

  • Neural tube birth defects – These birth defects occur early in pregnancy.  Taking folic acid can substantially reduce the likelihood of having a child with a neural tube defect.  Because the defect occurs so early in pregnancy, it is important to take folic acid while trying to conceive.
  • Kidney disease – Individuals with kidney disease often have high levels of hypocestine, which is associated with a high risk of stroke.  Taking folic acid can decrease hypocestine levels by as much as 30 percent.
  • Cancer treatment side effects – Methotrexate is a medication that is commonly used in the treatment of cancer.  Unfortunately, the medication has a number of side effects including nausea and vomiting.  Taking folic acid helps to reduce these side effects.
  • Depression – Research has shown that taking folic acid with an antidepressant can reduce the symptoms of the disease.

If you have questions about folic acid and its use to improve overall health, speak with a medical expert today.

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