Folic Acid: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Folic acid is one of the B vitamins and its another form is known as folate. While folate occurs naturally in food, folic acid is its synthetic form. It natural form, folate, is found in lentils, dried beans, oranges, peas, whole-wheat products, beets, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, etc.

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Folic Acid Uses/Benefits

Folic acid is an important vitamin supplement and has many significant uses for the human body. Here are some important uses of folic acid:

1. Prevents Anemia

Folate deficiency results in a type of anemia in which numbers of large blood cells start decreasing. Adding sufficient amount of folic acid to the diet can prevent folate deficiency and treat anemia.

2. Prevents Neural Tube Defects 

During pregnancy, folic acid is used as a supplement to prevent neural tube defects (NTDs). Half of the cases of neural tube defects in babies are due to low levels of folate during early pregnancy.

3. Prevents Kidney Diseases

High levels of homocysteine lead to serious kidney diseases and folic acid helps prevent kidney diseases by lowering the levels of homocysteine.

4. Prevents age related vision loss

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Taking folic acid with other vitamins including vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 reduces the risk of age-related vision loss.

5. Reduces Depression 

Taking folic acid along with antidepressant helps reduce depression in people.

6. Reduces High Blood Pressure

According to some researches, if the people with high blood pressure take folic acid daily for at least six weeks can reduce their blood pressures.

7. Prevents Gum Diseases 

Applying folic acid during pregnancy prevents gum diseases.

Folic Acid Side Effects 

Folic acid doesn’t have any major side effects when taken by mouth or injected into the body in limited doses. However, it shows some side-effects when taken in large doses for a long time. Here are some of the side effects of folic acid when taken in large doses:

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  1. nausea,
  2. loss of appetite,
  3. bloating,
  4. gas,
  5. unpleasant taste,
  6. sleep problems,
  7. depression,
  8. abdominal cramp,
  9. diarrhoea,
  10. skin reactions, etc.
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