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Anyone with the most basic health knowledge recognizes the importance of vitamin B. It is possible that they might not know much about folic acid but when they learn that it belongs in this vitamin category, they appreciate that it is a compound that their bodies require. You sometimes find that medical works refer to folic acid as vitamin B9. This is essential to the building of the human DNA, and therefore it is of particular concern during the first months of pregnancy. A lack of this acid could cause deformations in the fetus, or even prove fatal in extreme circumstances.

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How does the body obtain folic acid?

As you might imagine, the food supply is an essential source of this vitamin. To make a diet plan that maximizes food's folic acid potential, make sure to eat whole grains and plenty of vegetables of the green leaf variety. Spinach and broccoli are two examples of vegetables particularly rich in vitamin B9 content. You also find that citrus fruits are another excellent source of this vitamin. Natural health experts point out that folic acid supplements have an advantage since they are completely absorbed into the bloodstream while the B9 from foods in only partially absorbed.

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The amount of folic acid a healthy person needs

The recommended folic acid intake varies according to age and sex. The chief concern is to ensure that women in their childbearing years get sufficient amounts of the vitamin. Medical opinion urges everyone over the age of 14 to get at least 400 mcg daily through their food supply. Women who are hoping to have children should double this dosage with the extra amount taken in the form of a supplement. They must continue the double dosage while pregnant and if they later decide to nurse the baby.

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Taking certain medicines affects folic acid levels

Sometimes a person takes in a sufficient amount of folic acid through meals and the use of supplements, but they still have a deficiency. The side effects of certain medications are one of the common reasons why people might find themselves in this situation. Many kinds of antibiotics and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can have this side effect. It is not sensible to stop taking prescription medications without first discussing the matter with the doctor. If this medicine is draining the body of folic acid, the doctor needs to decide how best to change the treatment.

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Could folic acid reverse balding?

Despite the odds against real success, people continue to spend money on all kinds of proposed cures, or they get hair transplants. Yet the solution might be much cheaper and easier to implement. Folic acid contributes to hair growth. There might be a connection between folic acid deficiency and some kinds of hair loss so correcting this imbalance could theoretically reverse that balding.

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Avoid drinking alcohol

Besides the side effects of particular medications, alcohol drinking is another reason why the body fails to absorb a sufficient amount of its folic acid intake. Alcohol impairs this absorption ability so whoever needs to boost their vitamin B9 level needs to abstain from hard drink while eating the recommended foods or taking supplements. In any event, doctors warn women about the health risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, so this abstention is to their advantage in every respect.

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Unpleasant side effects of folic acid

Folic acid rarely causes unpleasant side effects as long as people keep within the recommended dosage limits. However, sometimes a person does experience an adverse reaction. For example, they might start to feel sick, or they could notice that they have lost their appetite. The undesirable side effects could also take the form of difficulties getting to sleep and the production of excessive gas in the body. If any of these or other unexpected reactions occur, consult a doctor.

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The dangers of overdosing

As is the case with so many other substances with essential health properties, you can get too much of a good thing. In no circumstances should anyone exceed the recommended dose for their age and gender. An excessive intake of this vitamin causes this person to feel extremely fatigued, and they may start to feel a tingling sensation in their limbs. An overdose also affects their mental capabilities to the extent that they could become confused. If any disturbing symptoms appear, seek emergency medical help.

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Useful in mental health treatments

Although folic acid is most frequently associated with pregnancy, it has many additional medical uses. Mental health professionals use it to treat some of their depressed patients. If they lack the optimum amount of folic acid, it can have a negative impact on their mood and their thinking processes. If the doctor or psychologist believes this might be the source of the patient's problem, they could try treating it with folic acid supplements.

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Benefits to heart health

Cardiovascular health is another area where folic acid has an important role to play. Anyone with a history of heart disease needs to be particularly careful to make sure they get an adequate supply of this vitamin as well as vitamin B12. These vitamins work well together to aid the heart's functioning in several ways. One of the most important of their contributions comes through lowering the chance of blood clots developing and thus they could significantly reduce heart attack risks.

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Treatment of Patients with Alzheimer's disease

How to treat patients with degenerative diseases has become one of the major challenges facing modern medicine. The rise in life expectancy over the past 80 years means that more people reach an age when these illnesses are more likely to develop. The relationship between inadequate folic acid levels and Alzheimer's disease is one of the areas researchers are investigating. There is evidence the presence of this vitamin at the optimum level helps to prevent age-linked memory loss.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.