Health starts with the individual cells of our body. If our cells are healthy so are we. Healthy cells, in turn, depend on the continued, faultless replication of our DNA. DNA can be seriously damaged through attacks by free radicals so an adequate antioxidant status is essential to cell health. However, it is becoming clear that antioxidants alone are not enough to protect our DNA; more and more research points to the Vitamin-B & Folic Acid as being equally or perhaps even more important in ensuring proper DNA replication. Folic acid is essential for the synthesis of adenine and thymine, two of the four nucleic acids that make up our genes, DNA and chromosomes.It is not surprising that folic acid deficiency has been implicated in a wide variety of disorders from Alzheimer’s disease to atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis, cervical and colon cancer, depression, dementia, cleft lip and palate, hearing loss, and of course, neural tube defects.
Folic acid in food:- Here are some foods with lots of folate
|Large Orange||54mcg of folate,||a large hard-boiled egg||22mcg|
|a medium papaya||115mcg,||1/2 cup of chickpeas or chole||140mcg|
|1/2 cup of cooked spinach||130mcg||3/4 cup of cooked white rice||60mcg|
|1 cup of tomato juice||50mcg||1/2 cup of lentils, cooked||175mcg|
Leafy green vegetables are a good source, so try to have fenugreek (methi) or radish leaves or spinach daily.Other folate-rich vegetable are peas,corn,beetroot,mustrad,green pepper and ladyfinger.
Such as almonds, cashew nuts, peanuts, walnuts and sesame seeds
Such as soya bean, lobhia, kidney beans, dried peas, chickpeas and lentils.
Such as strawberries, honeydew or cantaloupe melons, bananas, pineapple, papaya, oranges and raspberries.
Whole grain flour and pasta,whole meal bread and oats.
The folic acid in foods is delicate and can be destroyed by cooking. Try to cook in a covered pan with the minimum amount of boiling water. Eat vegetables lightly steamed, microwaved or raw.
Do you need Supplements?
The standard diet does not supply what we need. This has led to fortification of cereals and other foodstuffs to try to ensure a minimum daily intake of 0.4 mg/day. Although beans and green vegetables like spinach and kale are good sources of folic acid,relatively few people eat lots of vegetables and cooking destroys most of the folate anyway. Realizing the poor availability from the diet many medical researchers now advocate daily supplementation with folic acid. Because folic acid needs the catalysts vitamins B12 and B6 to carry out its functions effectively it is usual to supplement with a combination of the three. Dosage recommendations for folic acid vary between 0.4 mg/day and 10 mg/day or more depending on the severity of the deficiency and the health problem to be overcome.
Uses of Folic Acid
Pregnant women who are deficient in folic acid are more likely to have children with birth defects. Women who plan to become pregnant should make sure to get the recommended 400 mcg per day, since many neural tube defects can occur shortly after conception (before a woman may even know she is pregnant). Studies show that women who take folic acid supplements before conception.
Folate may help protect the heart through several methods. First, there is some evidence that getting enough folic acid in your diet can reduce your risk of heart disease. In addition, because folic acid helps control levels of homocysteine in the body and because homocysteine levels tend to be high in people with heart disease, some researchers theorize that lowering levels of homocysteine may help prevent heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Collectively, many studies indicate that patients with elevated levels of the amino acid homocysteine are roughly 1.7 times more likely to develop coronary artery disease and 2.5 times more likely to suffer from a stroke than those with normal levels.
Age related hearing Loss
One study suggests that folic acid supplements help slow the progression of age-related hearing loss in elderly people with high homocysteine levels
and low folate in their diet.
Some studies show that 15-38% of people with depression have low folate levels in their bodies, and those with very low levels tend to be the most depressed. Low levels of folic acid have also been associated with a poor response to antidepressants. Folic acid may help enhance the effect of antidepressants, at least in some people.
Folic acid appears to protect against the development of some forms of cancer, particularly cancer of the colon, as well as breast, cervical, pancreatic and stomach. However, this evidence is based on population studies that show people who get enough folate in their diet have lower rates of these cancers. It is not clear exactly how folate might help prevent cancer. Some researchers speculate that folic acid keeps DNA (the genetic material in cells) healthy and prevents mutations that can lead to cancer.
Low dietary intake of folate may increase the risk of developing breast cancer, particularly for women who drink alcohol. Regular use of alcohol (more than 1½ to 2 glasses per day) is associated with increased risk of breast cancer. One large study, involving over 50,000 women who were followed over time, suggests that adequate intake of folate may lessen the risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol.