With the advancements in science and technology, the functioning of the human body is no longer a mystery. We are now better equipped to diagnose and treat most issues that affect the body. Recent findings of biological science have showcased the importance of folic acid in overall health. Folic acid is one of the essential micronutrients that can be found in a number of foods. Unfortunately for some, not everyone is able to convert folic acid into its active form—methylfolate—and use it effectively throughout the cells in the body.
What is folic acid deficiency?
This wonderful little nutrient helps with the formation of important things like red blood cells and nucleic acids, in addition to helping with the overall digestive process. Methylated folate is used for various functions like synthesizing and repairing DNA, cell division and supporting cardiovascular health by regulating homocysteine levels. Methylated folic acid, for example, is a major contributor to the production of the neurotransmitters, namely serotonin and dopamine. Folic acid also plays a major role in fetal development because it protects and maintains DNA cells and guards against major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
Foods rich in folic acid include brussels sprouts, peas, chickpeas, asparagus, oranges and bananas. The human body does not store folic acid, and it can be challenging for many people to absorb the amount of folic acid they need from the foods they eat. So, we need to make sure that we regularly consume foods rich in this nutrient. A well-balanced diet should help in preventing a deficiency in most people.
When a person suffers from a folic acid deficiency, he or she can experience a number of health problems. Roughly 70% of the population has a folic acid deficiency, either due to a conversion defect or from an insufficient diet.
What are the symptoms of folic acid deficiency?
Noticing a case of folic acid deficiency can be especially challenging for doctors and sufferers alike because these symptoms tend to manifest in a variety of ways with a plethora of potential causes. A lack of folic acid can cause lethargy and a sense of exhaustion, occasionally accompanied by digestive issues. Diarrhea, headache and intestinal distress are also indicative of folic acid deficiency. Other folic acid deficiency symptoms include mood disorders and depression, difficulty concentrating, and cardiovascular problems.
This particular micronutrient is required for several essential body functions and, thus, a lack of folate is tied to a host of conditions. Talk to your doctor if you notice any combination of these symptoms, or suspect that you may have a folic acid deficiency.