Folic Acid In Depression And Anxiety
What is folic acid?
Folic acid is the synthetic, man-made form of the naturally occurring folate (also known as vitamin B9). Folic acid is found in fortified foods, and in dietary supplements.
Natural sources of folate
You can get folate from the food you normally eat, including leafy vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce), okra, asparagus, fruits (such as bananas, melons, and lemons) beans, yeast, mushrooms, meat (such as beef liver and kidney), orange juice, and tomato juice.
The amount of folate that will be available for absorption after its ingestion depends on many factors, such as the intestinal environment, genetics, lifestyle, the presence of diseases, and other conditions. Folic acid is actually more problematic for the body than the natural folate.
The role of folate in your health
When converted properly folate acts as coenzymes (molecules that help accelerate reactions in the cells). These coenzymes are involved in the synthesis of genetic material and methylation reactions (the addition of methyl groups to DNA molecules), thus regulating gene expression.
For this reason, folate deficiency may result in chronic diseases caused by abnormalities in the synthesis of DNA and proteins, and the dysregulation of gene expression.
Methylfolate (the most bioactive form of folate) also helps to break down high levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid associated with an increased occurrence of cardiovascular disease & immune system problems when high levels are found in the blood.
Low folate is linked to health problems such as anemia, neural tube defects in newborns, cognitive decline, increased risk of cancer, miscarriages, Autism, Cerebral Folate Deficiency, and mood disorders.
Recommended dietary intake of folate
The official recommended dietary intake of folate for adults is 400 mcg. Pregnant and lactating women require 600 mcg and 500 mcg, respectively. It’s worth noting these RDIs were established many, many years ago and studies have shown there may be many reasons why taking more for certain conditions might be beneficial.
Folate is found in a variety of foods, and it´s also added to industrialized food in the form of synthetic folic acid. Folate deficiency can be associated with a poor quality diet.
Other factors that increase the risk of folate deficiency are:
when you drink alcohol, the absorption of folate is impaired.
When a woman is pregnant, she needs more folate for the development of the fetus. During the development of the baby, methyl folate helps to form the neural tube (the fetal part that later develops into the brain and spinal cord). Supplementation with folate is very important because it can help to prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
- Intestinal surgery or malabsorption: people with celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s, leaky gut, etc. don’t absorb nutrients normally. Surgeries involving the digestive organs may reduce the acidity in the stomach, thus interfering with folate metabolism.
some people can´t metabolize folate properly due to a genetic mutation in the gene MTHFR.
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