Nutrition represents one of the leading factors in preventing the risk of several disorders. The concept of chemo prevention can cause several adverse effects in the metabolic processes of the body. Use of natural supplements has a considerable impact on human health and disease. Folic acid and its derivatives, known as folates are chemoprotective micronutrients of great interest because of their essential role in the maintenance of health and genomic integrity.
Folate and its Derivatives
Folate and its derivatives are water-soluble vitamins which its main function is, it acts as a co-factor in a variety of enzymatic reactions within the cell. Folates are rich in nature present in leafy vegetables, eggs, legumes, bran and dry fruit. The synthetic form, which has a higher bioavailability, is added in a food fortifier in cereal grain products or also used as a dietary supplementation.
Function of Folate and its Derivatives
Folate is unavoidable and has a vital role in metabolic of the body. It is important for the accurate function of the genomic integrity in the cell. It contributes in two types of reactions, biosynthesis of nucleotides and methylation reactions, which are mandatory in the major biological processes of DNA synthesis, DNA repair, and DNA methylation. Folic acid is also needed for correct functioning of mitochondria and maintenance of mitochondrial DNA.
Which is One of The First Symptoms of Folate Deficiency?
The signs of folate deficiency are often subtle. Loss of appetite and weight loss may be the first symptom of folate deficiency because, in the diet, folates exist as polyglutamates and need to be enzymatically converted into folate monoglutamates by folate reductase in the jejunal mucosa in order to be absorbed. Inflammation, degenerative diseases, certain medication, and toxins can alter the physiology of the absorption of folate leading to malnutrition. This deficiency is more common in pregnant women, infants, and children when compared to adults. Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, chronic enteritis or entero-enteric fistulae can interfere with the absorption mechanisms.
Folate Deficiency Anemia
Anemia is considered to be major disorder due to lack of folate absorption. Folate is most frequently used for management of anemia condition caused by folic acid deficiency. This anemia condition is the late finding in folate deficiency which is frequently referred as folate deficiency anemia. It is characterized by the appearance of large-sized, abnormal red blood cells called as megaloblasts, which form when there are inadequate stores of folic acid within the body.
Some Major Deficiency
Severe folate deficiency has serious consequences such as polyneuropathy, diarrhea, cognitive impairment and behavioral disorders. Low levels of blood folate lead to increased plasma homocysteine, impaired DNA synthesis, and DNA repair and may promote the development of some forms of cancers.
Folate Deficiency in Pregnancy
Folate deficiency in pregnancy is connected with several disorders such as neural tube defects and deformities in the developing fetus. There is evidence that folic acid deficiency during pregnancy could represent a risk factor for the development of childhood leukemia in the offspring. Folate decreases from the fifth month of pregnancy until several weeks after delivery. Hence intake is obligatory to prevent low birth weight. Folate required for growth reaches the maximal level in the last trimester. There are many research investigation proved the dose-response relationship between folate intake and birth weight, placental weight, and length of gestation.
The signs of folate deficiency are frequently subtle. Loss of appetite and weight loss may be the first symptom of folate deficiency because, in the diet, folates exist as polyglutamates and need to be enzymatically converted into folate monoglutamates by folate reductase in the jejunal mucosa in order to be absorbed. Inflammation, degenerative diseases, certain medication, and toxins can alter the physiology of the absorption of folate, thus causing folate deficiency leading to loss of appetite and weight loss followed by anemia condition as the late finding.