Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vitamin B9 Folic Acid: Cell Reproduction Supervisor


Folic acid's greatest claim to fame may be that it is necessary for the formation of nucleic acid, which is essential for the processes of growth and reproduction of all body cells.  Without Folic acid, cells do not divide properly (1).  Since Folic acid deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world (2),  it is no wonder that so much degenerative disease is prevalent in our society and the world.  Not only is correct cell division necessary for a growing fetus to develop properly in the womb, it is also necessary for reproduction of new cells for healing damaged tissue.
The most prevalent effects of Folic acid deficiency are neural tube defects in the unborn fetus, depression, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis.  However, Folic acid is necessary for proper brain function, being concentrated in the spinal and extracellular fluids.  A deficiency can lead to irritability, forgetfulness, and mental sluggishness.  It is also needed for the production of red blood cells, so it is often impossible to correct anemia through the supplementation of iron alone (1).

The RDA for Folic acid is 400 mcg, 800 mcg for pregnant women.  Supplementing with Folic acid during pregnancy can reduce neural tube defects by 40 to 80 percent (3).  For this reason, it is recommended that even those women who are not planning a pregnancy supplement their diets with Folic acid, because the majority of pregnancies are unplanned.

According to Dr. Michael T. Murray, "In Folic-acid deficiency, all cells of the body are affected, but it is the rapidly dividing cells like red blood cells and cells of the gastrointestinal and genital tract that are affected the most, resulting in poor growth, diarrhea, anemia, gingivitis, and an abnormal pap smear in women" (4).

Vitamin B9 is available as Folic acid (folate) or folinic acid (5-methyl-tetra-hydrofolate).  In order to utilize Folic acid, the body must convert it first to tetrahydrofolate and then add a methyl group to form 5-methyl-tetra-hydrofolate (folinic acid).  By supplying the body with Folinic acid in the first place, one bypasses these steps.  Folinic acid is the most active form of Folic acid and is more efficient at raising body stores than folic acid (5).

However, Folinic acid is synthetic.  The most natural source of Folic Acid is nutritional yeast.  Purchase Here

Ailments which may benefit from Folic Acid Supplementation:
Anemia
Leukemia
Pernicious anemia
Diarrhea
Alcoholism
Mental illness
Adrenal exhaustion
Baldness
Arteriosclerosis
Atherosclerosis
Celiac disease
Diverticulitis
Arthritis
Emphysema
Nail problems
Psoriasis
Ulcers
Gastritis
Indigestion
Fatigue
Pellagra
Pregnancy
Stress
Tonsilitis
Acne
AIDS
Cancer
Candidiasis
Cataracts
Constipation
Cervical dysplasia
Epilepsy
Gout
Hepatitis
Infertility
Osteoporosis
Neural tube defects
Parkinson's disease
Periodontal disease
Restless legs syndrome
Seborrheic dermatitis
Senilit
Ulcerative colitis (6) (7)

Sources of Folic Acid:

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.

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Copyright 2015  Judie C. McMath and The Center for Unhindered Living

References:

(1)  Dunne, Lavon J. (1990). Nutrition Almanac, 3rd ed.  New York:  McGraw-Hill, p. 39.
(2)  Murray, Michael T.  (1996).  Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Rockland, CA:  Prima Publishing, p. 119.
(3)  Personal Health Lifestyles. (2000).  "Vitamin B9:  Folic Acid."  Available Online: [http://www.healingwithnutrition.com/vitamin.html#VitaminB9].
(4)  Murray, as in (2), p. 120.
(5)  Bailey, L.B.  (1995).  Folate in Health and Disease. New York:  Marcel Dekker.
(6)  Dunne, as (1) above, pp. 40-41.
(7)  Murray, as in (2) above, pp. 121-122.

  

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