Why Folic Acid Is Important
by Simon Harris
Folic acid is one of the vitamins that make up the Vitamin B complex.
Also known as folacin and folate, this essential nutrient serves the body
in many ways. While important for all age groups, folic acid is especially
necessary to pregnant women and important to those entering their elder
years. However, despite all its known benefits, many people fail to meet
the recommended daily intake levels, which can have real health consequences.
Folic acid is important from the very first moment of life. In fact, if
a couple is even thinking about getting pregnant, the woman should immediately
begin to monitor her folic acid consumption, making sure that she meets
the suggested daily intake levels. Most health care professionals recommend
that every woman of childbearing age make sufficient folic acid consumption
a nutritional priority. That is because this nutrient is vital to the
development of the baby from the moment of conception. It can help to
prevent serious birth defects in the brain and spine, called neural tube
defects. Spinal Bifida is one of the more well known of these defects.
These types of defects usually occur within the first few weeks of development,
which means they happen before the average woman even realizes she is
Other important functions of folic acid within the body include, in addition
to assisting in the formation of genetic material in each and every cell
of the body, the formation of red blood cells essential to transporting
oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and tissue growth. Folic acid,
according to recent research, has been associated with such health benefits
as protection against such debilitating diseases as Alzheimers disease,
some cancers and heart diseases. It is also thought to offer a certain
degree of protection from strokes.
Deficiencies in folic acid can cause a myriad of health problems. Among
them are ulcerations in the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, peptic
ulcers, and chronic diarrhea. Folic acid deficiency can also contribute
to certain kinds of anemia.
Folic acid is a water soluble nutrient, which means it flows out of the
body with the urine and the bodys supplies must be replenished daily.
Because of its great importance in the reproductive system and the protections
it offers, as well as its role in other essential bodily functions, it
is a good idea to consider taking dietary supplements to ensure that the
recommended daily intake levels are met. Particularly in the realm of
potential birth defects of such a serious and debilitating nature, better
safe than sorry should be the philosophy when it comes to folic acid daily
When choosing a dietary supplement, it is always important to read and
understand the label. That will help you to ensure that you are getting
the daily intake levels of the nutrients you seek. For example, a prenatal
vitamin will focus on different nutrients and levels of intake than a
general, all-purpose daily multi-vitamin. When planning your supplement
use, make an honest assessment of your eating habits. That way, you can
select individual supplements that match your individual dietary needs
and health goals, and avoid getting too much of some and too little of
So much of good health is planning and maintaining a routine that ensures
the daily consumption of proper nutrients. Folic acid supplements can
offer a safe and sure means of meeting the bodys daily requirements
of this essential and protective nutrient.
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