Folic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin. Since 1998, it has been added to cold cereals, flour, breads, pasta, bakery items, cookies, and crackers, as required by federal law. Foods that are naturally high in folic acid include leafy vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce), okra, asparagus, fruits (such as bananas, melons, and lemons) beans, yeast, mushrooms, meat (such as beef liver and kidney), orange juice, and tomato juice.
Folic acid is used for preventing and treating low blood levels of folic acid (folic acid deficiency), as well as its complications, including “tired blood” (anemia) and the inability of the bowel to absorb nutrients properly. Folic acid is also used for other conditions commonly associated with folic acid deficiency, including ulcerative colitis, liver disease, alcoholism, and kidney dialysis.
Women who are pregnant or might become pregnant take folic acid to prevent miscarriage and “neural tube defects,” birth defects such as spina bifida that occur when the fetus’s spine and back don’t close during development. (By: WEBMD)
When it comes to a supplements many multivitamins contain Folic Acid Like Hercules vitamins have a great source of folic acid to prevent colon cancer or cervical cancer. It is also used to prevent heart disease and stroke, as well as to reduce blood levels of a chemical called homocysteine.
Effective for: Folate deficiency. Taking folic acid improves folate deficiency.
Likely Effective for: Kidney disease. About 85% of people with serious kidney disease have high levels of homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease and stroke. Taking folic acid lowers homocysteine levels in people with serious kidney disease. However, folic acid supplementation does not appear to reduce the risk of heart disease-related events. High amounts of homocysteine in the blood (hyperhomocysteinemia). High levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease and stroke. Taking folic acid lowers homocysteine levels by 20% to 30% in people with normal to slightly elevated homocysteine levels. It is recommended that people with homocysteine levels greater than 11 micromoles/L supplement with folic acid and vitamin B12. Reducing harmful effects of a medicine called methotrexate. Taking folic acid seems to reduce nausea and vomiting, which are possible side effects of methotrexate treatment. Birth defects (neural tube defects). Consuming high amounts of folate in the diet and taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects.
Possibly Effective for: Age-related vision loss (age-related macular degeneration). Some research shows that taking folic acid with other vitamins including vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 reduces the risk of developing age-related vision loss. Depression. Limited research suggests that taking folic acid along with antidepressants seems to improve symptoms in people with depression. High blood pressure. Research suggests that taking folic acid daily for at least 6 weeks reduces blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, taking folic acid with blood pressure medication does not seem to lower blood pressure any more than taking just the medication alone. Gum problems due to a drug called phenytoin. Applying folic acid to the gums seems to prevent gum problems caused by phenytoin. However, taking folic acid by mouth does not seem to improve symptoms of this condition. Gum disease during pregnancy. Applying folic acid to the gums seems to improve gum disease during pregnancy. A skin discoloration disorder called vitiligo. Taking folic acid by mouth seems to improve symptoms of vitiligo. Reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Possibly Ineffective for: Cancer of the white blood cells (acute lymphoblastic leukemia). Taking folate during pregnancy does not reduce the risk of childhood cancer of the white blood cells. Breast cancer. Consuming folate in the diet might lower the risk of developing breast cancer in women who also eat high amounts of methionine, vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), or vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), but research is not consistent. Other research suggests that taking folic acid supplements alone does not lower the risk of breast cancer. Heart disease. Research suggests that taking folic acid alone or with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B12 does not reduce the risk of death or heart disease-related events in people with heart disease. Chronic fatigue syndrome. Daily injections of folic acid appear to have no effect on symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Toxicity from the drug lometrexol. Daily injections of folic acid appear to have no effect on symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Prostate cancer.Folic acid levels in the blood do not seem to be linked with the risk of developing prostate cancer. Stroke. Research suggests that people with high folate intake from the diet have a lower risk of stroke due to blood vessel ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke). However, folic acid does not seem to reduce the risk of stroke due to blood clots (ischemic stroke).
Likely Ineffective for: Inherited disease called Fragile-X syndrome.Taking folic acid by mouth does not improve symptoms of fragile-X-syndrome.
Insufficient Evidence for: Alzheimer’s disease. Limited evidence suggests that elderly people who consume more folic acid than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) appear to have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than people who consume less folic acid. Preventing re-blockage of blood vessels after angioplasty. There is inconsistent evidence on the benefits of taking folic acid after a procedure to widen the blood vessels. Taking folic acid plus vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 might actually interfere with healing in cases where a device (stent) is inserted in the blood vessel to keep it open. Bipolar disorder. Taking folic acid does not appear to improve the antidepressant effects of lithium in people with bipolar disorder. However, taking folate with the medication valproate improves the effects of valproate. Cervical cancer. There is some evidence that increasing folic acid intake from dietary and supplement sources, along with thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamin B12, might help to prevent cervical cancer. Memory and thinking skills in older people. There is conflicting evidence about the role of folic acid in age-related decline in memory and thinking skills. Some research shows that taking folic acid might improve mental function in older people. However, other research suggests no benefit. Colorectal cancer. Some research suggests that taking folic acid by mouth as a supplement or in the diet lowers the risk for developing colorectal cancer. However, contradictory evidence exists. Diabetes. Taking folic acid supplements does not seem to benefit people with diabetes. Epilepsy. Taking folic acid does not reduce seizures in people with epilepsy. Esophageal cancer. Research suggests that consuming more folate in the diet lowers the risk for developing esophageal cancer. High amounts of homocysteine in the blood caused by the drug fenofibrate. Taking folic acid every other day might lower levels of homocysteine in the blood caused by the drug fenofibrate. Stomach cancer. Research suggests that taking folic acid reduces the risk of developing some types of stomach cancer. Gout. Early research suggests that folate might reduce the risk of gout. Hearing loss. Low levels of folate in the blood seem to be related to the risk for sudden hearing loss in adults. Some evidence suggests that taking folic acid daily for 3 years slows the decline of hearing loss in older people who have low folate levels. It is not clear if folic acid supplementation reduces hearing loss in people with normal folate levels. Male infertility. Some research suggests that taking folic acid plus zinc sulfate daily can increase sperm count in men with low sperm counts. Lung cancer. There does not appear to be a relationship between low levels of folic acid and lung cancer in most people. Helping medicines used for chest pain work longer. Some evidence suggests that taking folic acid does not help medications for chest pain (nitrates) work longer. Cleft lip. Some research suggests that taking folic acid during pregnancy lowers the risk of left lip. However, other research shows no effect. Pancreatic cancer. Eating more than 280 mcg of folate in the diet daily is linked to a lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer. However, other research suggests that folate intake is not linked to pancreatic cancer risk. Restless leg syndrome. Taking folic acid seems to reduce symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Researchers are studying whether folic acid deficiency causes restless leg syndrome. Sickle-cell disease. Taking folic acid might lower homocysteine levels. However, it is not known if this will benefit people with sickle-cell disease. Cancer due to a disease called ulcerative colitis. Early research suggests that taking folic acid might prevent cancer in people with ulcerative colitis. Liver disease. Alcoholism. Weak bones (osteoporosis). Other conditions.
Folic acid’s benefits in pregnancy are well documented. Supplementation before conception, and in the first few weeks of pregnancy, significantly and substantially lower the risk of several different birth defects, including neural tube defects (NTDs).
In women of childbearing age, folic acid supplementation has a demonstrable and meaningful benefit, reducing the incidence of NTDs. Its use in this population is evidence-based and demonstrably effective. And for treatments for conditions like end-stage kidney disease, folic acid may be of benefit. But when we look at the use of folic acid for primary prevention, the data are less clear. In children, men, and women beyond their childbearing years, supplementation in the absence of deficiency has no demonstrated health benefits, and there are worrying signals that it may raise cancer risks, possibly by “feeding” existing cancers.
Is fortification of our food supply harming and hurting? The benefits on NTD incidence have been demonstrated, while the harms haven’t been proven yet. Still, folic acid’s evolving story may become a cautionary tale about the consequences of fortification and supplementation with the hope of improved health outcomes. If we’re not in our childbearing years, we may be better off relying only on food sources for folate. So pass the spinach, and hold the multivitamins with folic acid
Follow are benefits of folic acid
- help to improve RBC (red blood cells)
- help to improve hemoglobin & blood level
- help to glow your skin
- its benifical multivitaminits
- improves sperm count & quality of sperms
- helps in fertilization