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- SACN Folate and Disease Prevention Report.
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Folate Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis
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Folate is one of the B-vitamins and is needed to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow , convert carbohydrates into energy, and produce DNA and RNA. Adequate folate intake is extremely important during periods of rapid growth such as pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence. This article provides an in-depth look at recommended intake of folate, its possible health benefits, foods high in folate and any potential health risks of consuming folate.
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The recommended daily allowance RDA of folate is different for people of different ages, as follows :. Recommended folate intake increases during pregnancy and breastfeeding to fuel rapid growth and help prevent neural tube defects in the fetus. The most common causes of folate deficiency include an inadequate diet, alcoholism , and difficulties in absorbing foods that contain folate or folate itself.
In addition, the body requires the conversion of folic acid to its active form, methylfolate. Genetics can occasionally get in the way of this conversion, which can lead to a folate deficiency. Taking a supplement in the active, or reduced, form of L-methylfolate 5-MTHF may help to make sure that the body is receiving folate in the most useful way. Speak to your doctor about individual needs and if a certain supplement is needed. Folic acid supplements play an important role in ensuring that vulnerable individuals and those in greater need of folate receive enough.
Increasing intake of folate-rich foods is also important as these foods typically also provide plenty of other nutrients that all act together to support good health.
Anyone who may become pregnant is recommended to obtain micrograms mcg per day of folic acid from dietary supplements in addition to the folate present in a varied diet. It is essential to consume enough folic acid during pregnancy to help protect against miscarriage and neural tube defects in the fetus. Recent research has also shown that a father's folate status before conception may be just as important. In a study from McGill University, paternal folate deficiency in mice was associated with a 30 percent increase in various congenital deformities than in offspring with no paternal folate deficiencies.
Low folate status has been linked to an increased risk of depression and poor response to antidepressant treatment. Folate deficiency has been linked to depression in people with epilepsy , and one study suggested that supplementation of the nutrient could help treat low mood. Folic acid supplementation has not been suggested as a treatment in itself for depression, but it may be helpful in improving response to antidepressants such as fluoxetine, especially in women.
As elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, some researchers have suggested that folic acid and B12 may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. B vitamin supplementation including folate may be associated with a lower risk of stroke. Low levels of folate intake are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in women and several epidemiological studies have suggested an inverse association between folate status and the risk of colorectal, lung, pancreatic, esophageal, stomach, cervical, ovarian and other cancers.
One study , for example, suggested that folate can have protective effects against esophageal cancer. However, other studies have found no association between folate and cancer.
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Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; Folate status and requirement in pregnancy. Br Med J ; Prevention of folate deficiency by food fortification. Effect in pregnant subjects of varying amounts of added folic acid.
Effect of increasing dietary folate on red-cell folate: implications for prevention of neural tube defects. Lancet ; Czeizel AE, Dudas I. Prevention of the first occurrence of neural-tube defects by periconceptual vitamin supplementation. N Engl J Med ; Pregnancy outcomes in a randomised controlled trial of periconceptional multivitamin supplementation. Final report. Arch Gynecol Obstet ; Dawson DW. Microdoses of folic acid in pregnancy.
http://edutoursport.com/libraries/2019-11-30/639.php J Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonw ; The evolution of anemia in alcoholic patients. Am J Med ; Ek J, Magnus E. Plasma and red cell folate values and folate requirements in formula-fed term infants. J Pediatr ; Food and Nutrition Board: Institute of Medicine. Nutritional status in a healthy elderly population: dietary and supplemental intakes. Folate and vitamin B12 status in a healthy elderly population.
J Am Geriatr Soc ; Gregory JF 3rd. The bioavailability of folate. In: Bailey LB, ed.
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