Introduction to Folic Acid


Folic acid is a type of B-vitamin which occurs naturally in foods such as: oranges, broccoli, and grains. Folic acid helps in generating body cells and preventing DNA mutations and changes that lead to cancer. It is also used as a medical treatment for folic acid deficiency and some types of anemia caused by folate deficiency.


Sources of folic acid


  • Kidney beans
  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruits
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Red meat
  • Nuts
  • Poultry



Uses of Folic Acid


  • Folic Acid for Pregnant Women


Supplementing with folic acid during pregnancy, protects the fetus from brain and neural tube defects. The recommended daily dose for a woman a month before conception is 600-800 micrograms per day and this dose is also continued throughout her pregnancy. In the event that the mother has had previous children with neural tube defects, the daily dose of folic acid required is increased to 4000 micrograms per day.


  • Folic Acid Before Pregnancy


Folic acid aids in the formation of the neural tube during early fetal developmental stages, so taking folic acid is very important before and during pregnancy as it prevents brain and neural tube defects.


  • Folic Acid for Men


Folic acid protects the heart consequently preventing heart diseases. Folic acid also reduces the risk of some cancers as well as the incidence of depression. Moreover, according to a study published which states that the consumption of 5 mg of folic acid and 66 mg of zinc daily for 26 days in men, increased the number of sperms produced by 74%.


  • Folic Acid for Healthy Hair


Folic acid is primarily responsible for cell growth, which also applies to cells within the skin tissue, such as hair and nails. As a result of that, an increased interest in folic acid as a potential hair growth treatment has sparked.


Side Effects of Folic Acid 


  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Bloating and flatulence
  • A bitter or mixed taste in the mouth
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Irritability


Drug Interaction of Folic Acid


  • Fosphenytoin
  • Methotrexate
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Primidone
  • Pyrimethamine


If you are taking any of the above medicines, you should not use folic acid and inform your doctor immediately.