Folic Acid is a member of the B-Vitamin family. It is a water-soluble vitamin and gets flushed from your system on a regular basis, so your body cannot store very much of it and it needs to be taken in the diet regularly.
The main item to remember about folic acid is that it protects newborns from birth defects when the mother takes it. Without folic acid, severe birth defects can result, including severe neurological defects such as spina bifida, as well as musculoskeletal defects such as cleft palate. Having healthy sperm also depends upon adequate folic acid intake, so it is very important to prevent birth defects for both expectant mothers and fathers to take in adequate folic acid. For this reason, many countries require that grains and grain products be fortified with folic acid.http://www.ebiochem.com/product/folic-acid-99-17245
The human body requires folic acid to protect many processes and organs. Folic acid, also called folacin or folate, is necessary to prevent anemia, to generate energy and to replicate DNA. Without folic acid, no cell division can take place, creating conditions for disease. When the body attempts to make red blood cells without folic acid, the blood cells cannot mature, so they become very large and unusable. This condition is called megaloblastic anemia.http://www.ebiochem.com/product/folic-acid-99-17245
Folic acid also protects the detoxification processes in the liver. Folic acid allows S-adenosyl methionine, or SAMe, to be converted to glutathione, a major detoxification molecule in the liver. Glutathione is necessary for proper liver function, and cannot be formed without folic acid. Without folic acid, SAMe is converted to homocysteine instead of glutathione. Homocysteine is a very toxic free radical that damages cell walls, causing blood vessel walls to become hard and inflexible. Elevated homocysteine levels are a known risk factor for coronary artery disease as well as both atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. These conditions can be treated nutritionally by administering regular doses of folic acid, folate or its metabolically active cousin, tetrahydrofolate.
This vitally important nutrient is fairly easy to come by in nature. Large amounts of it are present in leafy greens, such as spinach, beet greens, turnip greens and the leafy green lettuces such as romaine. In fact, the name folate comes from the Latin word for “leaf.” Lack of leafy green vegetables in the diet is the chief cause of folic acid deficiency, and thus birth defects, megaloblastic anemia and several other diseases.
Folic acid is very powerful. The average person only needs about 400 mcg (micrograms) of folic acid per day, or 500 to 600 mcg per day for pregnant or lactating women. The FDA recommends that no more than 800 to 1000 mcg of folate per day be consumed. Excess folic acid can inhibit vitamin B12 absorption, and can also mask the symptoms of B12 deficiency.http://www.ebiochem.com/product/folic-acid-99-17245
For most people, regularly eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, including some green salads with spinach and romaine lettuce will prevent folic acid deficiency and its associated disorders. If you are concerned your levels are low, ask your doctor for a simple blood test to determine your folic acid levels. Low levels can be treated with supplements or with dietary changes alone. If you are sexually active and may become pregnant or father children, taking in adequate folic acid will help keep your potential offspring healthy. http://www.ebiochem.com/product/folic-acid-99-17245