January 8th-14th, 2017 is Folic Acid Awareness Week! Let’s take a look at why we need a sufficient supply of folic acid in our everyday lives.
A healthy body is a happy body and a daily intake of vitamins can keep you healthy. Among the 13 essential vitamins, including vitamins A, C, D, E, and K and B, folic acid (also known as folate) is a type of B vitamin with multiple health benefits for women and men of all ages.
It is found in foods such as leafy greens, pastas, beans and more. Everyone needs folic acid as it helps the body make healthy new cells, break down, create and use new proteins as well as form new blood cells and create new DNA. For women who may get pregnant, getting enough folic acid during pregnancy can prevent major birth defects of her baby’s brain or spine.
These benefits however barely scratch the surface of folic acid as its effects are ever far reaching. That being said, here are 6 incredible health benefits of folic acid:
1: Supports normal fetal development
Folic acid plays an important role in fetal development and the benefits for pregnant women and their offspring cannot be understated. Folate deficiency during early pregnancy can lead to spinal cord defects preventing its full and proper development. Studies have found however that increased folate levels from one month prior to conception to 3 months afterward can reduce the chance of these defects by 50%.
2: Protects a healthy heart
Folic acid protects your heart by pairing with Vitamin B12 as a co-enzyme to help metabolize the amino acids, methonine and homocysteine. Without folic acid, homocysteine levels can cause blood to clot more easily than normal and cause cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Studies have shown folic acid may lower homocysteine levels.
3: Helps prevent diabetes
Folic acid helps the breakdown of triglycerides. Triglycerides is a type of fat found in the blood that is used for energy. Type-2 diabetes is linked to high levels of triglycerides in the blood. Studies have shown that when looking at different groups of women from different geographical locations, those with a BMI of 30 and above had low levels of folic acid.
4: Natural remedy for depression
Folic acid supplements have been used to help treat depression and enhance anti-depressant drugs. People who are deficient in folic acid are less likely to respond to anti-depressant medication. It is also believed to play a part in mood regulation.
5: Helps fight cancer
According to The American Cancer Society, low levels of folic acid in the blood have been linked with higher rates of colorectal cancer and some other types of cancer. Studies have shown that women with higher levels of folic acid per day were less likely to get colon cancer. Folic acid is necessary to make and repair DNA when creating new cells. Scientists believe that low levels of folic acid may lead to changes in chemicals that affect DNA. This may alter how well cells can repair themselves or divide properly, which may lead to cancer.
6: Helps treat Alzheimer’s
Folic acid may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Patients who regularly consume the recommended daily allowance of folic acid through both food and supplements are at lesser risk of developing Alzheimer’s by half. Folic acid also may play a key role in preventing overall memory loss associated with old age.
Spread awareness on folic acid with Euromed
Are you feeling sluggish and tired all the time? Or experiencing symptoms like diarrhoea, loss of appetite and weight, headaches, or a sore tongue?
This could be due to a folic acid deficiency which if left untreated could lead to bigger problems down the lane. At Euromed, our patients experience the expert care of Dr. Hoda Makkawi. As an award-winning doctor in family medicine and an anti-aging specialist, Dr. Hoda is personally committed to educating her patients and keeping them healthy.
Get healthy and stay in healthy in the New Year. Book an appointment at Euromed, one of the premier medical centers in Dubai.