Folate

Yay!! I’ve lost 25.6 pounds total so far with 54.4 pounds to go to reach my goal!  My BMI has dropped from 36.9 to 33.1 and my goal is 24.9.

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folate

Folate

Folate is a brain food and is needed for making energy and forming red blood cells.

It also strengthens your immunity by helping with the formation and functioning of white blood cells.

Because it works as a coenzyme in DNA and RNA synthesis, it’s important for healthy cell division and replication.

It’s involved in protein metabolism and has been used in the prevention and treatment of folic acid anemia.

This nutrient may also help depression and anxiety, and may be effective in the treatment of uterine cervical dysplasia.

Folate may be the most important nutrient in regulating homocysteine levels.

Homocysteine is an amino acid naturally formed in your body as a result of another amino acid breaking down.

In recent years, high levels of homocysteine have been found to be linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Normally, homocysteine is converted to other, non-harmful amino acids in your body.

In order for this conversion to take place as it should, your body needs enough folate, as well as vitamins B6 and B12.

Homocysteine levels in red blood cells have an inverse relationship to levels of these 3 important B vitamins – that is, the lower the levels of these vitamins, the higher the level of homocysteine.

Folate is very important in pregnancy.

It helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation, which is vital for normal development.

Studies have shown a daily intake of 400 mcg of folate in early pregnancy may prevent the vast majority of neural tube defects, like spina bifida and anencephaly.

It may also help to prevent premature birth.

To be effective, this regimen must begin before conception and continue for at least the first 3 months of pregnancy.

If a woman waits until she knows she’s pregnant, it may be too late, because critical events in fetal development occur during the first 6 weeks of pregnancy – before many women know they’ve conceived.

In the mid-1990s, the government required enriched grain products be fortified with folic acid.

This was to try to get an across-the-board decrease in neural-tube birth defects like spina bifida.

Since the program started, there’s also been a decline in stroke-related deaths that appears to be related.

Researchers link this decline to the reduction of homocysteine levels in the population as a whole.

However, some researchers worry the higher folic acid intake may mask B12 deficiencies.

If you’re worried about low B12 (see my previous post), consult your health care practitioner before taking folic acid supplements.

Many experts still recommend every woman of childbearing age take a folate supplement daily.

Folate works best when combined with vitamin B12 and vitamin C.

Another option is to simply take a good– or high-quality multivitamin; most have at least 400 mcg of folic acid and these other nutrients.

A sore, red tongue is one sign of folate deficiency.

Other possible signs include anemia, apathy, digestive disturbances, fatigue, graying hair, growth impairment, insomnia, labored breathing, memory problems, paranoia, weakness, and birth defects.

Folate deficiency may be caused by not eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables, eating only cooked or microwaved vegetables (cooking destroys folate), and malabsorption problems.

Sources

The following foods contain significant quantities of folate:  Asparagus, barley, beef, bran, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, cheese, chicken, dates, green leafy vegetables, lamb, legumes, lentils, liver, milk, mushrooms, oranges, split peas, pork, root vegetables, salmon, tuna, wheat germ, whole grains, and whole wheat.

Unlike most other nutrients, synthetic folic acid from a supplement is more bioavailable than folic acid from food.

It’s best to eat folate-rich foods and take a supplement, especially if you’re a woman of childbearing age.

Comments

Oral contraceptives may increase the need for folate.

Alcohol also prevent folate absorption.

Cautions

Don’t take high doses of folate for extended periods if you have a hormone-related cancer or seizure disorder.

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Dick and Lenay

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