Folic acid (Vitamin B9) is a water-soluble vitamin that is beneficial for a healthy body. The human body is capable of producing this vitamin which is then stored in the liver.
Foods rich in vitamin B9 (folic acid) include; cheese, mushrooms, green vegetables, cauliflowers, legumes, as well as bananas, and oranges.
Deficiency of folic acid include symptoms such as anemia, stunted growth of brain and nerves, sore tongue, skin cracking, as well as memory loss. Furthermore, lack of vitamin B9 may lead to problems such as bowel cancer, birth defects, osteoporosis, heart palpitations, and leucopenia. There is also a high risk of suffering from sterility and infertility if you are vitamin B9 deficient.
Health benefits of folic acid (vitamin B9) include;
1. Preventing Birth Defects
Pregnant women need to consume a diet rich in folic acid to promote healthy development of the unborn fetus. Folic acid is a micronutrient that is vital in the prevention of several birth defects including congenital heart problems and cleft lips. It has also been suggested that folic acid helps in the prevention of premature births and miscarriages.
2. Promoting Fertility For Both Sexes
Vitamin B9 is a crucial factor necessary for the production of both male and female gametes. Gametes are the reproductive cells that fuse to form a fetus in the womb during reproduction. Vitamin B9 deficiency in men is a more serious risk factor that leads to low sperm count and the production of abnormal sperm cells.
3. Ensuring A Healthy Red Blood-Cell Concentration
The human body utilizes folic acid in the production of red blood cells. Inadequate amounts of this micronutrient in the body can result in a low concentration of red blood cells. This may lead to low energy levels and constant feelings of fatigue.
4. Reducing The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
Folic acid is known to reduce the amount of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that contributes to the narrowing of blood vessels which may lead to heart complications. Consuming adequate folic acid can, therefore, counter the destructive effects of homocysteine.
5. Promoting Liver Health
Liver damage is mostly caused by the intake of harmful substances such as alcohol and tobacco. These substances have to be metabolized by the liver and when taken in excess they can overload the liver and cause cirrhosis. Folic acid facilitates the production of glutathione and methionine which are the hormones responsible for the detoxification of the liver.
6. Eliminating Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is caused by the action of harmful free radicals in the blood. Increased concentration of free radicals leads to cellular damage and destruction of vital body organs. Folic acid is a powerful antioxidant that suppresses the effects of free radicals and thus maintaining overall body health.
7. Enhancing Cognitive Functions
Research has shown that regular intake of folic acid promotes normal brain development in children, increasing their learning ability and boosting their memory. Folic acid also helps in maintaining a healthy cerebral cortex that may be brought about by aging.
8. Slowing Down The Aging Process
Folic acid has been identified as a crucial nutrient in the slowing down of aging in humans. This may be due to its powerful antioxidant properties that eliminate free radicals. This nutrient also increases the rate of cell division, therefore countering the gradual degeneration of body organs due to the process of aging.
9. Prevention And Treatment Of Anemia
Anemia is a potentially fatal condition that develops when the body has very few red blood cells in the blood. Due to its ability to promote cell division, Folic acid is crucial in maintaining a healthy population of red blood cells in the blood. as such, this micronutrient can be administered to prevent and treat symptoms of anemia.
10. Treatment Of Arsenic Poisoning
Arsenic is a highly toxic substance that is abundant in the environment as a result of pollution. Continuous exposure to this element leads to its toxic build-up in the body’s internal organs. When the level of arsenic in the body rises sharply, it results in a condition known as arsenic poisoning which may result in death. Folic acid aids in breaking down of arsenic and its elimination through the kidney, thus preventing its toxic build-up.
11. Maintaining A Healthy Body Weight
Like all other B-complex vitamins, Folic acid promotes metabolic functions within the body. These metabolic functions consume lots of energy, burning fat in the process. This reduces the chances of unhealthy fat deposits forming, thus ensuring that the overall body weight is constantly maintained within a healthy range.
12. Management Of Autism
Folic acid promotes healthy brain development in children before birth and is effective in the prevention of neurological conditions such as autism. It can also be administered to patients who are already autistic to help in improving the condition.
13. Stroke Prevention
Recent research has identified folic acid as a potential factor in the prevention of stroke. People who consumed high amounts of this micronutrient were found to be at least 10% less likely to suffer from a stroke during their lifetime. This may be due to its action on blood vessels that prevents hardening of arteries which results in heart complications that often lead to stroke.
14. Maintaining Kidney Functions
Folic acid promotes normal kidney function through assisting in the elimination of harmful metabolites through the urine. The build-up of such metabolites puts a lot of stress on the kidneys which may lead to kidney disease.
15. Managing Depression
Depression is often caused by low levels of serotonin and dopamine in the blood. These are mood-enhancing neurotransmitters that bring about feelings of happiness and wellness. Research has shown that folic acid stimulates the steady production of these neurotransmitters by the body, which results in reduced anxiety and stress symptoms.
16. Prevention Of Vision And Hearing Loss Due To Aging
Eyes and ears gradually lose their ability to function properly due to the natural aging process. This can sometimes lead to total deafness and blindness. In recent years, folic acid has been successfully used in slowing down this decline significantly.
17. Maintaining A Healthy Immune System
The most common cause of compromised immunity is the low concentration of white and red blood cells in the blood. This is a common problem affecting people who have inadequate folic acid in their diets. Folic acid is known to boost production of disease-fighting cells in the body, leading to increased immunity against infection.
18. Maintaining Bone Density
Low bone density, resulting from dietary deficiencies, increases the chances of bone fractures and leads to physical frailty. Folic acid can help in preventing the occurrence of this condition. Folic acid works as a co-factor for the enzymes responsible for stimulating mineral deposition in the bones.
19. Reducing Toxicity Of Several Medications
New studies reveal that folic acid can be successfully administered to limit the toxic effects of certain medical drugs. Steroids used in managing rheumatoid arthritis often produce adverse side-effects on patients taking them. It has however been proven that patients who take such drugs along with folic acid supplements are less likely to experience such side-effects.
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