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8 reasons why you need folic acid

Folic acid or Vitamin B9 is essential for many vital functions in the body. Know why this B-complex vitamin is so necessary for us.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : June 23, 2014 4:54 PM IST

Folic acidVitamin B9, commonly known as folate or folic acid is found to play a vital role in many body functions that includes cell repair and maintenance, DNA synthesis and amino acid metabolism. This essential vitamin can be obtained from foods such as dark green leafy vegetables like palak, beans and legumes (peanuts, chavli, rajma, dals, etc) and fruits like lemons, bananas, etc. Here are top 8 reasons why one should include folate-rich foods in their diet

Aids in fetal development

Folic acid is very essential for adequate and appropriate brain and spinal cord development of the unborn child. Deficiency of folate in pregnant women leads to birth defects in the fetus like paralysis, brain damage or even still birth. By taking sufficient amounts of this vitamin during pregnancy, women can eliminate the risk of birth defects in children. Read more about importance of folic acid in pregnancy

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Keeps the brain young

Adequate levels of folic acid are necessary for normal functioning of the brain. Research studies have shown that folate slows down the effects of aging by acting on the brain.

Helps production of blood cells

Folic acid is important for the production, maturation and development of red blood cells and prevention of anemia. It is also found to be helpful in the production of white blood cells that play a vital role in the body's defense mechanism. Read about there's more to anaemia than just iron deficiency!

Relieves depression

Studies have proved that folate reduces depression by playing a key role in enhancing the treatment response to antidepressants. It also reduces the risk of dementia.

Keeps heart diseases at bay

Folic acid keeps your heart healthy and helps to function optimally along with preventing the risk of various health complications like stroke, heart diseases and coronary diseases. Folate aids in the removal of a toxic compound called homocysteine (it leads to severe arterial damage) from the blood . Read how folic acid and Vitamin B helps to prevent heart disease

Helps to prevent type-2 diabetes

Folic acid is found to increase the breakdown of triglycerides (fats present in the blood). High blood levels of triglycerides are associated with obesity and thus, increased risk of type-2 diabetes.

Prevents cancer

Folic acid is crucial for normal cell division and DNA repair mechanisms. Research has shown that this vitamin has a role in prevention of cancers of stomach, breast, colon and pancreas. Read more about the relation between folic acid and breast cancer

Protects from Alzheimer's disease

Studies have shown that consuming the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 400 mg of folic acid through foods or supplements reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 50%. It is also found to prevent the general memory loss that comes with old age.


Vitamins and Supplements Lifestyle Guide - Folic Acid (Folate) WebMD

Fabulous Folate Harvard Health Publications

Folic acid in diet MedlinePlus

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