The factors of folate deficiency (folic acid deficiency)
Folate deficiency (folic acid deficiency) means you have a lower level amount of folic acid, a type of B vitamin, in your blood. Folate is one of eight essential B vitamins needed within your body.
Folate or folic acid is a highly essential nutrient for the proper functioning and maintenance of our body. Lack or deficiency of this nutrient can cause a host of diseases.
Folic acid is a naturally occurring vitamin found in green leafy vegetables, liver, yeast and mushrooms. Alcohol and excessive cooking can affect folic acid absorption. Some medications may also cause folate deficiency.
Causes of folate deficiency (folic acid deficiency) are:
•Diseases in which folic acid is not absorbed well, such as celiac disease (sprue) or Crohn’s disease
•Drinking too much alcohol
•Eating overcooked food
•Medications, such as phenytoin (Dilantin), sulfasalazine, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole
•Poor diet (often seen in people who do not eat fresh fruits or vegetables)
Low intake of green vegetables, legumes, and enriched grains are some of the most likely causes of this deficiency. Prolonged cooking and storage of food can result in the loss of folic acid content in food.
Some of the early symptoms of folate deficiency include fatigue, headache, palpitations, diarrhea, as well as difficulty concentrating.
People with a folate deficiency will show obvious physical signs like weight loss and loss of appetite. Folate deficiency is also known to cause gray hair, sore tongue, and irritability. Several behavioral disorders and depression might also be seen in the person with folate deficiency, as the nutrient plays a key role in maintaining the health of the central nervous system.
In adults, one of the main folate deficiency symptoms could be anemia. Anemia is caused due to the decrease of a compound called hemoglobin in the blood. Folate-deficiency anemia is a decrease in red blood cells (anemia) due to a lack of folate. In folate-deficiency anemia, the red blood cells are abnormally large. Some of the symptoms of anemia include shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue, and pale skin. Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.
Folic acid functions in DNA synthesis and therefore cell division. Without this important vitamin, cells such as red blood cells produced in the bone marrow, fail to divide properly. RNA continues to form and build up producing excess haemoglobin. The RBC becomes an immature enlarged non-functioning cell often containing excess haemoglobin. This is megaloblastic anemia.
Folate deficiency may result in immense bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract as well as other areas. Immediate medical advice should be taken if there is any bleeding in the body as this is a symptom of the chronic stages of folate deficiency.
Certain types of cancers can also be caused due to the deficiency of folate. One of the most common types is the colorectal cancer, which is the cancer of the rectum and the colon. Neuronal damage may also occur under harsh conditions.
Folic acid works with vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help the body break down, use, and make new proteins. The vitamin helps form red blood cells. It also helps produce DNA, the building block of the human body, which carries genetic information.
Folic acid is a type of B vitamin. It is water-soluble, which means it is not stored in the fat tissues of the body. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine.
Because folate is not stored in the body in large amounts, your blood levels of folate will get low after only a few weeks of eating a diet low in folate. You need a continual supply of this vitamin through your diet to maintain normal levels.
The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends that adults get 400 micrograms of folate or folic acid supplements daily. Specific recommendations depend on a person’s age, gender, and other factors.
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