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Folate: The ABC of this B Vitamin and signs that you are lacking it

Folate is a type of B Vitamin which plays an important role the formation of red blood cells in the body © Shutterstock

The recommended daily amount of folate for adults is 400 mcg. And the count goes up to 800 mcg for pregnant women. This important vitamin will give you a healthy body and a healthy mind.

Folate is a type of B Vitamin, Vitamin B9 to be precise, which plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells in the body. It is also useful in healthy cell growth and its function. It is an equally efficient nutrient that is crucial during early pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine in children.

A water-soluble vitamin, it dissolves in water and isn't stored in your fat cells. Meaning that you regularly need to fill your body with the vitamin as your body doesn't produce its own. Also, humans release excess amounts of water-soluble vitamins in their urine, which makes it even more important for you to have folate rich foods!

Talking of foods, it's mainly found in dark green leafy vegetables, beans, peas nuts, oranges, lemons, bananas, melons and strawberries. The recommended daily amount of folate for adults is 400 mcg. And the count goes up to 800 mcg for pregnant women.

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What happens when you lack folate

Birth defects: One of the main concerns with lack of folate is defects in children. And researches have shown that folic acid supplements can prevent birth defects. Taking a daily prenatal vitamin can help ensure women get enough of this essential nutrient.

Folic acid deficiency: Folic acid deficiency leads to anaemia and lot of other health issues. And the nutritional folate deficiency is generally treated with oral supplements. This deficiency however is not a problem due to fortified foods such as cereal and pasta available with good dosage of folic acid.

Heart and blood vessel disease and stroke: Folic acid combined with vitamins B-6 and B-12 to control high levels of homocysteine in the blood. High homocysteine levels increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cancer: Cancer is one of the major health problem that you can face, but some researches have shown that that folate might reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Depression: Folate deficiency also leads to mental health problem like depression. And some scientific evidences have suggested that folic acid might be helpful in treating depression.

Signs and symptoms of folate deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Grey hair
  • Mouth sores
  • Tongue swelling
  • Growth problems
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritability

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