Folic acid is also well known under many names, includingvitamin B9, vitamin Bc or folacin. It occurs naturally in the form of folate,and you may also hear or read people calling this acid pteroyl-L-glutamate, pteroylmonoglutamicacid or pteroyl-L-glutamic acid. This acid is actually one water-soluble B vitamin, and it is often found asintegral part of the vitamin B complex. These vitamins tend to occur in thesame foods and they usually support similar functions of the body.
Benefits of Folic Acid
Vitamin B9 is not biologically active, but after the metabolismin the liver it gets converted to dihydrofolic acid, tetrahydrofolate and someother metabolites, which are very important. Human body needs both folate andfolic acid for numerous functions. They are required for biosynthesis of nucleotides, DNA and methylate DNA, but also for the repair of the DNA or remethylationof homocysteine. Folate is often a co-factor needed for various biologicalreactions that are happening in the human body.
Folic acid is frequently used as additional treatment ofdepression, anemias, and even Alzheimer’s disease or some types of cancers.
Folic Acid Deficiency
If there is a lack of folic acid, people can suffer fromfolate deficiency (also known as FD). This condition is especially dangerousfor development of the embryos and may cause neural tube defects and otherserious medical problems. FD can also lead to accumulation of homocysteine andas the result provoke problems in the synthesis and repair of the DNA. In somecase this problem may cause development of different cancers.
Sources and Daily Needs of Folic Acid
Green leafy vegetables, liver, peas, yeast and fruits (especiallycitrus fruits) are found to be best natural sources of folates. There are alsosome folic acid fortified foods, such as flour and cereal products, which usually contain either folic acid or pteroylglutamicacid (PGA).
Folic acid can also be found as supplement, sometimes on itsown and sometimes combined with other B vitamins. Synthetic form of folic acid,found in supplements and fortified foods is discovered to be more easilyabsorbed in the body than the natural form of this B vitamin.
Average adult person daily needs about 400mcg of folic acid. However, periods of rapid cell division and growth require morefolic acid. Because of that, pregnant women, those who want to become pregnantor breastfeeding moms are advised to take 600 to 800mcg of folic acid per day.