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Folic acid: what it is used for and what foods contain it

Folic acid

Folic acid is essential for our health. Let’s find out what it is used for, what the symptoms of deficiency are and how to integrate it with food.

Folic acid, also called vitamin B9 , is a very important vitamin for the body, because it intervenes in the synthesis of DNA and proteins.

It is taken through food, in the form of folate , which is then transformed into folic acid. Let’s see in detail what folic acid is used for, what the symptoms of deficiency are and how to integrate it with food.

Folic acid, what is it for?

As we have anticipated, folic acid intervenes in the synthesis of DNA and RNA . For this, it is essential above all in the growth stages (childhood and adolescence) and in pregnancy. In particular, folic acid in pregnancy serves to prevent certain malformations of the baby, such as spina bifida, anencephaly and encephalocele.

Folic acid
Folic acid

Vitamin B9 is also indispensable for the balance of the nervous system and for the production of red blood cells. Together with vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, it is responsible for the control processes of homocysteine , an essential amino acid, which in excessive quantities can cause cardiovascular diseases.

The benefits of vitamin B9 have not ended here: according to some studies, taking folate could prevent hearing impairment and macular degeneration of the eye, two pathologies that appear in old age.

Folic acid deficiency can cause weakness, poor growth, lack of appetite, inflammation of the tongue and gums, anemia, difficulty concentrating and sleep disturbances.

Folic acid: contraindications

Taking vitamin B9 has no contraindications . An excessive dosage, however, could mask the deficiency of another important B group vitamin, B12. Therefore, it is good to stick to the recommended dosage, which is about 0.2 ml for adults and 0.4 ml for pregnant women.

Folic acid: elements that contain it

Folic acid is contained in numerous foods, including vegetables (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and beetroot), some fruits (oranges, avocados, kiwis, strawberries) and dried fruit ( nuts , hazelnuts and almonds).

Excellent sources of vitamin B9 are also cereals, legumes, eggs, meat (especially the liver) and salmon. All these foods, however, should be eaten raw, because cooking degrades the folate.

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