folic acid

Folic acid is a B family vitamin. This vitamin is necessary for the processes of cell division and thus cell neoformation. Our body is constantly forming new cells. Therefore, folic acid plays a crucial role from the beginning. Folic acid is found especially in green, fresh, uncooked vegetables. Pregnant women have twice as much need for this vitamin. Recently, the use of folic acid in colon cancer and the prevention of atherosclerosis is discussed.

Properties of folic acid

The vitamin folic acid is very susceptible to heat, light and air. Changes in food processing, storage and improper preparation lead to high losses of folic acid in the food. For example, in processed foods substantially less folic acid than in freshly prepared foods. For this reason, an additional intake of folic acid may be recommended.

Vitamin B12 additionally activates folic acid in the body. Therefore, vitamin B12 is important for the necessary content of folic acid.

Foods with folic acid

The following foods contain folic acid:

  • Cabbage varieties, corn salad
  • Nuts (almonds)
  • green leafy vegetables, spinach
  • Asparagus, bananas
  • whole grain products
  • yeast
  • wheat germ
  • Liver (beef liver)

The need for folic acid

Today, the daily requirement for folic acid is barely covered by food. Among other things, this is due to the fact that only about 25 percent of the folic acid from the diet is in free form and can be absorbed via the intestine. The daily requirement for folic acid is usually 300 micrograms.

Pregnant women have an increased need in the first place. Women with children and pregnant women should, according to the latest findings, meet their need for 550 micrograms of folic acid. Thus the need for cell formation and cell division of the child is ensured by this vitamin. Folic acid also plays a crucial role in protecting against damage to the nervous system and neural tube defects in the newborn.

Alcohol and certain drugs inhibit the usability of folic acid. Therefore, adequate intake should also be considered in these cases.

folic acid deficiency

A lack of folic acid can occur especially in young women. The cause of this is pregnancy or increased blood loss during menstruation. A folic acid deficiency manifests itself through changes in the blood picture and indigestion.

Particularly serious consequences may be undersupply for the adolescent fetus. Early or stillbirths, developmental disorders and malformations can be the result. The likelihood of a neural tube defect, also known as open back, is significantly increased in folic acid deficiency. Therefore, folic acid may be necessary during pregnancy. Overdose with this vitamin will rarely cause side effects or unwanted symptoms.

Preparations with folic acid

To be able to cover the daily need for folic acid, one possibility is to use special preparations containing this vitamin. This can be especially important for women with children and in pregnancy. For this a large number of different preparations were developed. Femibion® and Folio® as well as Orthomol Natal® are examples of dietary supplements containing folic acid. The preparations are usually available in combination with iodine and vitamin B12 in tablet form in the pharmacy.

It should be noted that a permanent overdose of folic acid can lead to depression or epileptic seizures. Therefore, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends a maximum dose of 200 micrograms per day for supplemental intake of folic acid by dietary supplements. For women who want to have children and during the first trimester of pregnancy, a recommendation of 400 micrograms per day applies.

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