Folic Acid For Bigger Brains And Better Health
Folic Acid is one of the B vitamins. It is sometimes also known as folacin, folate or pteroylglutamic acid (PGA). Folate is considered to be one of the best brain foods around. It is needed for both energy production and for the normal functioning and formation of red blood cells in the body. Folic acid strengthens the immune system and aids in the formation of white blood cells. Folic acid has also been shown to lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Folate is an important coenzyme. It helps with the synthesis of DNA and RNA. It is therefore important to the healthy division and replication of the body’s cells. It is involved in the metabolic processes and can prevent and treat folic acid anemia. This nutrient has also been discovered to be helpful for uterine cervical dysplasia.
Folate also helps to regulate homocysteine levels which are themselves responsible for the breakdown of the amino acid methionine. High levels of homocysteine have been associated with the hardening of arteries and the accumulation of fatty plaques. For the normal conversion of homocysteines to other amino acids in the body this system needs adequate supplies of folate, as well as B6 and B12.
Folate is most essential to women of childbearing age. Folic acid helps to regulate embryonic and fetal development. Folic acid is essential to healthy fetal nerve formation which is vital to normal development in utero. Researchers have found that a daily intake of 400 micrograms of folate early in pregnancy can prevent the vast majority of neural tube defects. The most common of these defects is spina bifida.
Folate in early pregnancy may also help prevent early term births. Because a woman may not know that she is pregnant for the first six weeks and at this time crucial stages of development have already begun, doctors recommend that all women of childbearing age begin taking folic acid supplementation. Folic acid should be begun at least three months before conception in order to ensure its benefit and should be continued for at least the first three months of pregnancy.
Good sources of folic acid include: asparagus, barley, beef, brewer’s yeast, bran, brown rice, cheese, chicken, dates, green leafy vegetables, lamb, legumes, lentils, liver, milk, mushrooms, oranges, split peas, port, root vegetables, salmon, tuna, wheat germ, whole grains and whole wheat. Making sure to include these foods in your diet will help ensure you get adequate amounts of this nutrient. If you are planning to become pregnant within the next three months, beginning a prenatal supplement with folic acid amounts of at least 400 micrograms will also help ensure your body gets adequate amounts.
Nutrition & Health Guide
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