Why is folate important during pregnancy? Folate is significant for several metabolic functions in the human body such as biosynthesis of RNA and DNA, repair of DNA and methylation of DNA processes. It has a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the genome and the cells in the body. Hence, it is important to all people of all ages, particularly pregnant women. In pregnancy, folate intake is necessary for rapid cell proliferation and tissue growth of the uterus and the placenta, over-all growth of the fetus and expansion of the maternal blood volume. Women with insufficient folate intakes are at increased risk of giving birth to infants with neural tube defects although the mechanism responsible for this effect is unknown.
Is It Ok To Take Folic Acid When Not Pregnant?
The recommended daily intake amount of folate for adults is 400 micrograms per day. Folate deficiency is most suitably diagnosed in the individuals by analysis of the serum folate concentration. In case of a deficit, dietary supplements containing other B-complex vitamins can be taken at an appropriate dose. However, high intake can mask vitamin B-12 deficiency until its neurological effects become irreversible. Excess folic acid is excreted in urine as they are water-soluble vitamins; however, for normal healthy individuals, best to get folate from foods as they are abundantly rich in green vegetables and fruits.
Excessive Folate Adversative Effect
High doses of folic acid can correct the megaloblastic anemia in the individuals but, if the individuals suffering from vitamin B-12 deficiency, high folic acid intakes might “mask” the condition. There are reports associated with high folic acid supplementation which can accelerate the progression of preneoplastic lesions, increase of the risk of colorectal and possibly of other forms of cancer in certain individuals. But the research on these aspects is controversial. Inappropriate drug dose research is urgently needed to accurately define the relationship between supraphysiological intake of folate and chronic diseases.
Folate Dietary Supplements and Fortified Foods
Folic acid supplements are available in the form of capsules and tablets containing multivitamins (containing with other B-complex vitamins). The recommended daily intake amount of folate for adults is 400 micrograms per day and for pregnant women 400 to 800 microgram per day. Children’s recommended dose of folic acid multivitamins is 200 to 400 micrograms. About 35% of adults and 28% of children aged 1 to 13 years in the United States use supplements containing folic acid. The US-FDA has instigated to add folic acids in food products are widely consumed. The fortification program was projected to increase folic acid intakes by approximately 100 mcg/day.
Oral Use of Folic Acid
Folic acid is best and safe when it is used orally at appropriate doses. However, oral use of folic acid can cause nausea due to bad taste, misperception, and irritability. Individuals with allergies are not encouraged to have, as they influence an adverse reaction such as skin rash, itching sensation, discoloration of skin sometimes reddishness, and shortness of breathing. In such cases, withdrawal of intake is necessary and immediate medical care is required.
Intake of folate is not necessary for normal individuals as they are richly present in green vegetables and fruits. Unless, if folate deficiency is diagnosed in the serum of individuals, dietary supplements containing other B-complex vitamins is essential and can be taken at an appropriate dose. However, high intake can mask vitamin B-12 deficiency until its neurological effects become irreversible. The excess of consumption of folic acid won’t cause any adverse side effects as they excrete in urine because of their water solubility nature.