Folic acid deficiency disease

Folate vitamin B9 is a nutrient found in certain foods that are part of a healthy diet. A list of some foods that are good sources of folate is included later in this article. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Folic acid is added to certain fortified foods, and it can be taken orally in pill and liquid form as a dietary supplement, or it can be given as an injection.

Folic acid is often prescribed for people who are not getting enough folate from their diet alone. The recommended daily amount of folate for adults is micrograms mcg.

Folic Acid

A pregnant woman will require from to mcg of folate each day. There is also some evidence that folate helps to:. Folate folic acid deficiency occurs when a person is not getting enough natural folate in their diet, and the amount of folate in the blood falls below a healthy level. It is not a condition that will correct itself or go away on its own.

folic acid deficiency disease

The symptoms of folate folic acid deficiency in adults may be subtle. Often, the early symptoms are simply ignored until complications have already occurred. The symptoms can include:.

Causes of folate folic acid deficiency may be dietary, behavioral or genetic in nature. A deficiency may also by caused by taking certain medications or related to other medical conditions. Causes may include:. A balanced diet must include foods that are good sources of folate.

The body is not able to store unused folate, so folate-rich foods should be eaten daily. Without getting enough folate in the diet, a person can become folate deficient within a few weeks.

folic acid deficiency disease

Folate-rich foods that are commonly available include:. Folate is extremely sensitive to heat. Cooking vegetables, fruits and other folate-rich foods too long can limit their benefit.

Alcohol use can also cause the body to flush out too much unabsorbed folate through urination. Some people are born with bodies that are unable to normally absorb folate from food or folic acid from supplements. This genetic trait can be passed from generation to generation. When infants are diagnosed with this genetic trait, they must begin treatments right away in order to avoid long-term health risks.

Some of those medications are:. It is also important to note that taking folic acid supplements to treat a folate deficiency can counteract certain medications, making these medications less effective.

Always discuss every medication and supplement you are taking with your primary care doctor or your pharmacist. Some diseases affect the absorption of nutrients in the stomach and intestines.

The following diseases can limit the absorption of folate and result in a deficiency:.Rather, it is caused by an impaired immune system.

Therefore, it is a kind of immune deficiency disease. For example, vitamin B12 is absorbed in the part of the small intestine known as terminal ileum. In addition, folic acid is absorbed in the jejunum and ileum of the small intestine. Folic acid or vitamin B9 is one of the most important vitamins needed to maintain optimal health.

It is obtained from diet or supplements. Folic acid is essential for red blood cell formation, for protecting genetic materials such as DNA and for preventing birth defects during pregnancy.

folic acid deficiency disease

An optimal folate level is also required to prevent anemia. In most cases, folic acid and vitamin B12 have overlapping roles. For example, both folic acid and vitamin B12 are needed in the transmethylation reactions involved in the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and epinephrine.

In addition, both vitamins are needed for the utilization of homocysteine, a toxic intermediate of amino acid syntheses.

folic acid deficiency disease

These causes are malnutrition, malabsorption and increased folate utilization in the body. One possible way malnutrition can cause folate deficiency is poor diet.

Eating a diet poor in folic acid can cause folate deficiency even in healthy people.

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When eating is difficult, there is a high chance that malnutrition can occur. Because folic acid is absorbed in the small intestine, its absorption is severely impaired by inflammation and damage to that part of the digestive tract. In one study, folate deficiency was most associated with damage to the proximal end duodenum and jejunum of the small intestine rather than the distal end terminal ileum.

This shows that unlike vitamin B12 absorption, folic acid is mostly absorbed in the first sections of the small intestine. Therefore, diseases with inflammatory components can cause folate deficiency simply by raising the utilization of folic acid in the body. This increased need for folate is believed to be caused by the increased production of pro-inflammatory immune cells such as granulocytes.

Because folate is needed for the release and functioning of these immune cells, the body uses up its store of folic acid and, therefore, needs more from dietary and supplemental sources. For example, surgical removal of part of the small intestinal may reduce the absorption of folic acid from the gastrointestinal tract. A similar effect is observed with vitamin B12 deficiency and removal of part of the ileum. The 2 drugs act by inhibiting some of the enzymes needed for folic acid synthesis.

One such enzyme is dihydrofolate reductase.Folic acid is a B vitamin. Our bodies use it to make new cells.

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Think about the skin, hair, and nails. These — and other parts of the body — make new cells each day. During early development, folic acid helps form the neural tube.

Learn more about the recommended intake level of folic acid here. Every woman of reproductive age needs to get folic acid every day, whether she is planning to get pregnant or not, to help make new cells. Folate is a general term to describe many different types of vitamin B9. Some rice, pasta, bread, and breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid. Heat and light can easily break down types of natural food folate. Folic acid is better suited for food fortification because many fortified products, such as bread and pasta, are cooked.

You can get mcg of folic acid each day by taking a vitamin with folic acid in it, eating fortified foods, or a combination of the two, in addition to consuming a balanced diet rich in natural food folate. Learn more about where to find folic acid in the U. For more information, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page. Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link.

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You will be subject to the destination website's privacy policy when you follow the link. CDC is not responsible for Section compliance accessibility on other federal or private website. Cancel Continue.Folate deficiency means you have a lower-than-normal amount of folic acida type of vitamin B, in your blood. Folic acid vitamin B9 works with vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help the body break down, use, and make new proteins.

The vitamin helps form red and white blood cells. It also helps produce DNA, the building block of the human body, which carries genetic information. Folic acid is a water-soluble type of vitamin B. This means it is not stored in the fat tissues of the body. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. Because folate is not stored in the body in large amounts, your blood levels will get low after only a few weeks of eating a diet low in folate.

Folate is found primarily in legumes, leafy greens, eggs, beets, bananas, citrus fruits, and liver. Folate deficiency can be diagnosed with a blood test. Pregnant women commonly have this blood test at prenatal checkups. In folate-deficiency anemiathe red blood cells are abnormally large megaloblastic.

Pregnant women need to get enough folic acid. The vitamin is important to the growth of the fetus's spinal cord and brain. Folic acid deficiency can cause severe birth defects known as neural tube defects. The best way to get vitamins your body needs is to eat a balanced diet. Most people in the United States eat enough folic acid because it is plentiful in the food supply.

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Women who may become pregnant should take folic acid supplements to ensure that they get enough each day. Specific recommendations depend on a person's age, sex, and other factors such as pregnancy and lactation. Many foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, now have extra folic acid added to help prevent birth defects.

Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemias. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; chap Koppel BS. Nutritional and alcohol-related neurologic disorders. Goldman-Cecil Medicine.

Samuels P. Hematologic complications of pregnancy. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Editorial team. Folate deficiency.

Contributors to folate deficiency include: Diseases in which folic acid is not well absorbed in the digestive system such as Celiac disease or Crohn disease Drinking too much alcohol Eating overcooked fruits and vegetables. Folate can be easily destroyed by heat. Hemolytic anemia Certain medicines such as phenytoin, sulfasalazine, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole Eating an unhealthy diet that does not include enough fruits and vegetables Kidney dialysis.Folate deficiencyalso known as vitamin B 9 deficiencyis a low level of folate and derivatives in the body.

Signs of folate deficiency are often subtle. A low number of red blood cells anemia is a late finding in folate deficiency and folate deficiency anemia is the term given for this medical condition. Loss of appetite and weight loss can occur. Additional signs are weaknesssore tongue, headachesheart palpitationsirritabilityand behavioral disorders. Women with folate deficiency who become pregnant are more likely to give birth to low birth weight premature infants, and infants with neural tube defects.

In infants and children, folate deficiency can lead to failure to thrive or slow growth rate, diarrheaoral ulcersmegaloblastic anemianeurological deterioration. An abnormally small headirritabilitydevelopmental delayseizuresblindness and cerebellar ataxia can also be observed. A deficiency of folate can occur when the body's need for folate is increased, when dietary intake or absorption of folate is inadequate, or when the body excretes or loses more folate than usual.

Medications that interfere with the body's ability to use folate may also increase the need for this vitamin. It may also be due to poor diet or a consequence of alcoholism. Additionally, a defect in homocysteine methyltransferase or a deficiency of Vitamin B12 may lead to a so-called "methyl-trap" of tetrahydrofolate THFin which THF is converted to a reservoir of methyl-THF which thereafter has no way of being metabolized, and serves as a sink of THF that causes a subsequent deficiency in folate.

Folate pteroylmonoglutamate is absorbed throughout the small intestine, though mainly in the jejunum. Important steps in the absorption are reduction of the polyglutamate chain by pteroylpolyglutamate hydrolase gamma-glutamyl hydrolase and then transport across the brush border membrane by the proton-coupled folate transporter SLC46A1.

Diffuse inflammatory or degenerative diseases of the small intestine, such as Crohn diseaseceliac diseasechronic enteritis or entero-enteric fistulae, may reduce absorption. When methotrexate is prescribed, folic acid supplements are sometimes given with the methotrexate. The therapeutic effects of methotrexate are due to its inhibition of dihydrofolate reductase and thereby reduce the rate de novo purine and pyrimidine synthesis and cell division.

Methotrexate inhibits cell division and is particularly toxic to fast dividing cells, such as rapidly dividing cancer cells and the progenitor cells of the immune system. Folate supplementation is beneficial in patients being treated with long-term, low-dose methotrexate for inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis RA or psoriasisto avoid macrocytic anemia caused by folate deficiency.

Folate is often also supplemented before some high dose chemotherapy treatments in an effort to protect healthy tissue. However, it may be counterproductive to take a folic acid supplement with methotrexate in cancer treatment. Cerebral folate deficiency is when levels of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate are low in the brain as measured in the cerebral spinal fluid despite being normal in the blood.

Without treatment there may be poor muscle tone, trouble with coordination, trouble talking, and seizures. Even when the systemic deficiency is corrected by folate, the cerebral deficiency remains and must be treated with folinic acid.

Folate deficiency can occur during pregnancy as a result of the increasing number of cells of the growing fetusdecreased absorption and intake of folate, maternal hormones that mediate its metabolism, vascular circulation of maternal and fetal blood and an increasing amount of blood resulting in dilution.

Folate deficiency is diagnosed with a blood test, measured as methyltetrahydrofolate in practice, "folate" refers to all derivatives of folic acid, but methylhydrofolate is the quasi unique form of "folate" in the blood [25]. Homocysteine is elevated 5-MTHF is used to convert homocysteine to methionine as in vitamin B12 deficiencywhereas methylmalonic acid is normal elevated in vitamin B12 deficiency and vitamin B6 deficiency.

More specifically, according to a UK guideline, [26]. Folate is acquired in the diet by the consumption of leafy green vegetables, legumes and organ meats.

Folic acid is a synthetic derivative of folate and is acquired by dietary supplementation. Non-prescription folic acid is available as a dietary supplement in some countries, and some countries require the fortification of wheat flour, corn meal or rice with folic acid with the intention of promoting public health through increasing blood folate levels in the populace.

After the discovery of the link between insufficient folic acid and neural tube defects[31] governments and health organizations worldwide made recommendations concerning folic acid supplementation for women intending to become pregnant. Because the neural tube closes in the first four weeks of gestation, often before many women even know they are pregnant, many countries in time decided to implement mandatory food fortification programs.

Over 80 countries require folic acid fortification in some foods. Folate deficiency is very rare in countries with folic acid fortification programs. Folate deficiency during gestation or infancy due to development by the fetus or infant of autoantibodies to the folate receptor might result in various developmental disorders. Studies suggest that insufficient folate and vitamin B 12 status may contribute to major depressive disorder and that supplementation might be useful in this condition.I cannot recommend Iceland and Nordic Visitor enough.

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Folate deficiency

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