Function of folic acid
Yet another member of the B complex family, water soluble, also known as Bc, vitamin M or Vitamin B9. Folic acid is essential to the formulation of red blood cells. It is an aid in protein metabolism. Folic acid is important for the production of nucleic acids (RNA and DNA).
Folic acid is essential for division of body cells. It is needed for utilization of sugar and amino acids.
Folic acid can lower homocysteine levels and reduce risk of heart disease. Help protect against birth defects such as spina bifida and it is recommended to help improve lactation for nursing mothers.
Folic acid is an aid in protection against parasites and food poisoning. It can promote healthier looking skin and act as an analgesic for pain.
May delay hair graying when used in conjunction with pathogenic acid and PABA. Folic acid can increase appetite when you are run down and not willing to eat. In likeness with B12 it acts as a prevention for canker sores and it helps ward off anemia.
Folic acid combined with B 12 can be a most effective revitaliser.
For women it is important to get enough folic acid and B6 vitamin. Just 400 mcg of folic acid with 2-10 mg of B6 can reduce your risk of heart attack by 42%.
If you are trying to get pregnant, folic acid can help both men and women, 400mcg of folic acid daily can help increase fertility in women and aid in upping sperm counts in men. (1)
High vitamin C intake increases excretion of folic acid, and anyone taking more than 2 g of C should probably up their folic acid intake.
If you are a heavy drinker, it is advisable to increase your folic acid intake the same goes for choline and B12.
Foods rich in folic acid
Deep green leafy vegetables, carrots, yeast, liver, egg yolk, cantaloupe, artichokes, apricots, pumpkins, avocados, beans, whole and dark rye flour. Here is a full list of foods rich in folate.
Signs of deficiency
Signs of excess
Not known toxic effects, though a few people experience allergic skin reactions. Excess folic acid can mask anemia created by B12 deficiency.
Recommended daily dosage
Adults 180-200 mcg
Pregnant 360-400 mcg
Nursing mothers 280 mcg the first six months and 260 mcg the second six months.