Folate is also known as Vitamin B9. It is one of many essential vitamins needed for copying and synthesizing DNA, producing new cells and supporting nerve and immune functions. It is also a water soluble vitamin and is a dietary supplement in the form of folic acid. The daily dietary intake of folate range from 454 to 652 micrograms and adults should get 400 mcg and children need 300 mcg.
FOLATE VS. FOLIC ACID: AN IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE
Folate is easily and naturally absorbed and utilized by the body when it is metabolized in the small intestines. It is important to know that supplementing with folic acid especially in child-bearing ages can elevate levels of unmetabolized folic acid and have it remain in the bloodstream because we cannot metabolize folic acid well. Side effects of folic acid remaining in the body include changes in sex hormones, trouble concentrating, ability to sleep, mood changes and deficiencies in certain nutrients like vitamin B12. High levels of folic acid have also been tied to cancer development and it interacts with different medications and aggravates health conditions as well.
COMMON SIGNS OF FOLATE DEFICIENCY:
- Poor immune function—frequently getting sick
- Chronic low energy –including chronic fatigue syndrome
- Poor digestion—including constipation, bloating and IBS
- Developmental problems
- Canker sores in the mouth
- Changes in mood, including irritability
- Pale skin
- Premature hair graying.
WHO IS AT HIGHER RISK OF DEFICIENCY OF FOLATE:
- Breast feeding women or women looking to become pregnant
- Anyone with liver disease
- Anyone on kidney dialysis
- Anyone taking medications for diabetes
- Those frequently using diuretics or laxatives.
IT HELPS THE BODY UTILIZE IRON, VITAMIN B12 AND AMINO ACIDS
Folate deficiency can contribute to anemaia. Folate also helps Vitamin B12 to be absorbed and therefore many experts are concerned that high folic acid intakes might “mask” vitamin B12 deficiency until it is neurological diagnosed.
TOP 12 FOLATE FOOD SOURCES
Increasing your intake of natural folate-rich foods is the best way to protect yourself from deficiency along with complications of folic acid supplementation.
Spinach – 66%
Black Eyed Peas – 52%
Asparagus – 44%
Broccoli – 26%
Brussel Sprouts – 40%
Kidney Beans – 24%
Romaine Lettuce – 16%
Avocado – 15%
Orange – 7%
Wheat Germ – 10%
So be informed about using some forms of supplementation because getting it from your food should always be your first choice of action.
Gwen Cottingham, Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach Sign up for more nutritional solutions that are simple, fun and sustainable
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