Folic acid, folate, or folacin is a water-soluble vitamin. Another name for folate is Vitamin B9. It is essential for DNA synthesis and protein metabolism. Since the human body does not produce or store folic acid, it needs to be acquired through our diet or by taking folate supplements. Green leafy vegetables, dried beans, peas, lentils, oranges, asparagus, lettuce, whole-wheat products, liver, beets, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are good sources of folic acid.
Vitamin B9 helps in the development of the fetus. It also ensures that there is a fast growth of the placenta. The deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy causes birth defects like neural tube and brain defects. Women must consume 800 mcg of folic acid daily during their pregnancy period.
Benefits of Folic Acid
Promotes Hair Growth:
Folate is essential for healthy hair. It renews the cells that aid the growth of hair. It has been shown to boost healthy cell generation and therefore, is a stimulator of natural hair growth in both men and women.
Folic acid is an important nutrient necessary for cell division and the production of new cells. Especially it is crucial for the generation of rapidly produced red blood cells. Folate deficiency causes a reduction of RBCs and hemoglobin in the blood, a condition called Anaemia. This can result in a decrease in the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood and ultimately heart failure.
Promotes Mental Health:
It can help improve memory and mental agility. This vitamin is important for the functions of the brain. In fact, a low level of folate may lead to depression.
Prevents Cardiovascular Disease:
Folic acid promotes heart health by reducing the level of homocysteine, a type of amino acid. Elevated levels of this amino acid can significantly increase the risk of atherosclerotic heart disease and stroke by promoting the formation of blood clots inside the blood vessels.
Taking adequate folic acid can reduce abnormal sperm in men. Abnormal sperm have difficulty reaching and fertilizing an egg, making conceiving difficult.
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disorder of brain cells that causes memory loss. Folic acid has some role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease and other brain-related disorders.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer:
Folic acid-rich diets lower the risk of some types of cancer. It is observed that a deficiency of folate can increase the risk of breast cancer in women who drink alcohol.