All About Folic Acid and the Benefits it Offers
If you are looking for a way to improve your health and well-being, then folic acid is a good way to start.
You have likely heard of folic acid, but you may not know what it is or what benefits it offers. Folate is a type of water-soluble vitamin, which is also called vitamin B9. It does not occur naturally in food, but it is often added to supplements and to refined grain products, like cereals and bread. Because folic acid is so different than natural folate, it is necessary for your body to convert it into an active form before it can be used by your body. Your genetics are going to impact how quickly this conversion will occur, which makes folic acid a rather trending topic in modern nutrition research.
Folic Acid Explained
Folic acid is a stable and artificial type of vitamin B9. It is not found naturally in any food and requires a four-step process that involves many enzymes, with one of them being MTHFR. There are some individuals who have genetic mutations that result in their MTHFR enzymes being less effective when it comes to converting the folic acid to the needed 5-MTHF. This may result in a buildup of folic acid in your blood. Over time, this can have negative health outcomes in some people. This includes things like the increased growth of pre-existing cancers, reduced brain function, and poor immunity.
How Much Folic Acid Is Needed Daily?
Folic acid is actually the synthetic form of vitamin B9. You can easily consume folate, which is the natural form of B9, through the foods you eat. You may also get it through chlorella B12, which often contains this, as well.
However, there is research that has suggested that many people are not getting enough folate-rich foods naturally. Because of this, there are some countries, including Canada and the US that are now adding folic acid to all types of refined grain products, including cereals, bread, and white flour. In the United States, this has helped to increase the consumption of folate by up to 28 percent and it has reduced the rate of folate deficiency.
Why Vitamin B9 Is So Important
Receiving adequate levels of vitamin B9 will provide an array of health benefits. Some of the main health benefits this provides are found here.
The Prevention of Neural Tube Defects
If a woman’s levels of folate are too low during the earliest weeks of her pregnancy, it can lead to neural tube defects in the infant. This includes malformations in the spinal cord, spine, and brain. Babies to women who supplement with folate during and before their pregnancy will help to reduce these rates significantly.
Higher intakes of folate can help to protect against some cancers. This includes those of the pancreas, lungs, gut, and breasts. This is more likely because of the role folate has in gene expression – which means it controls when genes are turned off or on. There are some studies that have shown lower rates of folate can result in this process going awry and increasing your likelihood of cancer and abnormal cell growth.
Reduced Homocysteine Levels
With adequate folate levels, it will help to reduce the levels of homocysteine, which is an inflammatory molecule that is linked to the development of heart disease. Folate can help to reduce homocysteine levels since it is required for converting homocysteine into a different molecule that is called methionine.
If you do not get enough folate, the conversion will slow down, and the levels of homocysteine will go up. Studies have shown that with a daily folic acid supplement, your homocysteine level can be reduced by up to 25 percent.
If you are looking for a way to improve your health and well-being, then folic acid is a good way to start. This supplement offers an array of health benefits that are something people of all ages can use. Being informed and knowing what to expect is the best way to know if a folic acid supplement is a good idea for you.