Living a healthy life means keeping a check on your food habits and physical activities. The heart, brain, and gut require special attention since they’re helping you get up every day to conquer life. So, to remain in your best form, it’s also essential to add vital supplements to your diet.
Folate is a B vitamin naturally present in several foods. Folate is crucial for the body to make DNA, RNA, and cells divide. Folic acid, a form of folate, is used in several dietary supplements.
The words folate and folic acid are used interchangeably, but these vitamins are different. Folic acid has a distinct biological effect on the body than folate. However, both are considered adequate dietary intake.
Folate is present in several foods, including broccoli, eggs, spinach, beef liver, avocado, and citrus fruits. On the other hand, folic acid is added to bread, flour, etc.
Consult your healthcare expert and include an adequate amount of bioactive folate to help support the brain, heart, and GI tract.
How Much Folate is Necessary For Your Health?
The amount of folate one needs depends on their age. It is crucial in reproduction and cell growth. In the United States, most people get enough folate. And, those who don’t, can have anemia, a blood disorder due to the presence of dysfunctional RBC (Red Blood Cells).
Here’s a list of daily average folate recommendations:
- From birth to 6 months – 65 mcg DFE
- Infants (7–12 months) – 80 mcg DFE
- Children (1–3 years) – 150 mcg DFE
- Children (4–8 years) – 200 mcg DFE
- Children (9–13 years) – 300 mcg DFE
- Teens (14–18 years) – 400 mcg DFE
- Adults (19+ years) – 400 mcg DFE
- Pregnant women – 600 mcg DFE
- Breastfeeding women – 500 mcg DFE
Maintaining sufficient folate is very important for cognitive function and good health. And bioactive folate can help in balancing and looking after your overall health.
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Folate?
Although folate deficiency is rare, some people do not get enough. Too little folate can result in megaloblastic anemia. It can also open sores inside the mouth and on the tongue. It can also lead to changes in the color of hair, skin, and fingernails.
Women who do not have enough folate are much more at risk of having babies with neural tube defects. It also increases the chance of a premature baby or a lower birth weight baby.
The following are common symptoms of folate deficiency:
- Gray hair
- Vision problems
- Swelling of tongue
- Growth issues
- Ulcers in the mouth
- Depression, confusion
What Causes Folate Deficiency?
The basic reason for folate deficiency is following an unhealthy diet. A few other reasons include:
- Digestive system disease: Your digestive system doesn’t absorb folic acid or if you have Crohn’s or celiac disease.
- Alcohol use: Excessive alcohol in place of food can result in low levels of folate.
- Overcooked vegetables: If you overcook, the heat destroys the natural folate in fruits and veggies.
- Specific medications: Some drugs can interfere with the absorption of folate.
- Hemolytic anemia: A blood disorder occurs when RBCs are destroyed and cannot be replaced fast.
So, a healthy diet along with bioactive folate can help keep your folate level in check.
What are the Effects of Folate on Health?
Researchers have been studying folate for a long time to understand its benefits to human health. And here are some:
Neural tube defects
Taking folate before and during early pregnancy can prevent neural tube defects in babies, which can hamper a child’s brain or spine.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ever since 1998, has required food companies to include folic acid in their food, including cornmeal, pasta, rice, flour, and other grain products.
Folate is a naturally occurring substance that can decrease the risk of various types of cancer. However, taking too much of it can increase the risk of getting cancer. High doses of folic acid supplements can increase a person’s risk of colon cancer.
Folic acid supplements can lower the risk of Homocysteine, which is related to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have also shown that folic acid combined with other B vitamins helps prevent stroke.
Low blood folate can lead to an increase in the risk of dementia and lower brain function. Studies suggest that folate supplements can improve the functioning of the brain and help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
How to Prevent Folate Deficiency?
Prevent folate deficiency by eating healthy food and maintaining a nutritious diet. Some foods containing high amounts of folate are:
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Fruits, like bananas and melons
- Tomato juice
- Wheat bran
- Fortified cereals
Experts recommend folate dose should be 400 micrograms per day. Pregnant women are advised to take a folate supplement under the consultation of a medical professional.
Bioactive folate is effective in maintaining nervous system function and a healthy immune system. Visit your medical expert to include them in your daily diet and lead a healthy lifestyle!