“Folic acid” has gotten attention as an essential nutrient during pregnancy. However, do you know how it works for you and your baby? Some may have heard of it, but it’s important to know what folic acid is and its effects.
This article will help you to understand folic acid, so read on!
1. What is folic acid?
Folic acid is deeply involved in metabolism, and it works in protein and nucleic acid synthesis to help the production and regeneration of cells and stimulate the growth of the body. Therefore, it is an essential nutrient when cells are newly created. With vitamin B12, it is also a hematopoietic vitamin that helps produce red blood cells.
Technically, nucleic acid means DNA or RNA, which is in the nucleus of a cell, preserves genetic information, and gives instructions to build the body according to genetic information. It is the basis of life. Therefore, it’s said that folic acid is an essential nutrient for pregnant women and during breast feeding. Since 2002 in Japan, folic acid is described in the Mother-Child Handbook.
2. Effects that we can expect
In a recent study, it showed that folic acid also works in cells to help convert an amino acid called homocysteine, a risk factor for arteriosclerosis, into an amino acid called methionine known to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
Homocysteine is a substance that has also gotten attention as a risk factor for new arteriosclerosis. It is sad that homocysteine production of folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 are suppressed. In the latest research, it expects that lowering blood homocysteine levels by intake of these vitamins will lead to prevention of ischemic heart disease.
3. Effects of folic acid deficiency on babies
In the early pregnancy (4 weeks to 12 weeks) where fetal cell division happens actively, there is a risk of congenital diseases, and in particular, it is said that the risk of developing neural tube closure disorder such as ” spina bifida” is increased. In addition, during the breast-feeding period, it has been pointed out that the development of the baby is delayed.
Currently, no disease has been identified due to excessive intake of folic acid. Even if the intake is slightly exceeded, folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, so the excess is excreted in the urine. It is important not to be sensitive and to take it enough.
Lack of folic acid, which helps produce red blood cells, is considered to be one of the causes of cardiovascular diseases such as lifestyle-related diseases and malignant anemia (gray-erythroblastic anemia). In addition, it is known that deficient symptoms are likely to appear at active sites of cell division because of its function that helps produce cells. They are immune function attenuation and digestive tract dysfunction.
Furthermore, people who drink a large amount of alcohol and those who take aspirin and pills are also likely to be deficient, so try to take enough folic acid. Folic acid is an especially necessary nutrient for mothers and babies.
4. Food that contains “folic acid”
Folic acid is abundant in green and yellow vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. In addition, you can take it from foods that you eat everyday, such as liver and beans. However, because they are vulnerable to water, heat, and light, they often lose nutrition when cooking. Therefore, even if you usually eat these foods, folic acid tends to run short.
The recommended amount for women who wants to be pregnant is 400 μg daily, and for pregnant women is 440 μg. To take 400 μg of folic acid, it’s equivalent to about 200 g of spinach. It is not a small amount at all. That’s why sometimes it’s not easy to take enough folic acid.
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