Folate or folic acid, commonly known as vitamin B-12, plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including cell repair and maintenance, DNA synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and the formation of leukocytes and erythrocytes. It prevents obesity and various cancers, including colon cancer, as well as preventing heart disease.
Health benefits of folate:
1. Supports Normal Fetal Development
Folate plays an integral role in fetal development and the benefits for pregnant women and their offspring cannot be understated. Folate deficiency during early pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects. This is a serious problem that can lead to pregnancy termination or a baby born with spina bifida.
2. Encourages Normal Cholesterol Levels
A Polish study found folic acid supplementation encourages normal cholesterol levels. In the study of 124 individuals, researchers observed significant reductions in LDL cholesterol levels in subjects who’d supplemented with .4 mg of folic acid daily for 12 weeks. The result is believed to have been derived from reduced homocysteine levels.
3. Provides Neurological Support
Research suggests there may be a link between folate levels and neural health. A Korean study of elderly patients found that those suffering from dementia had the highest levels of homocysteine, and the lowest folate levels. Patients in the control group who did not suffer from dementia had higher folate levels.
4. Fetal development
Erythrocyte production – the adequate and appropriate development of an unborn child’s brain and spinal cord – is dependent on foods rich in folate. A lack of folate during pregnancy can lead to gaps in the development of the spinal cord, which can result in paralysis, brain damage, or a stillborn child.
5. Production of red blood cells
Folate is key in the development of red blood cells or erythrocytes. A lack of this compound can make the body susceptible to cancer. In addition, the body’s defense mechanism, the white blood cells, are also manufactured in the presence of folate supplements.
6. Thwarting heart disease
Folic acid supplements also help the heart stay healthy and function optimally. Folate deficiency can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, coronary complications, and strokes in patients. In the U.S., after bread and cereal companies were asked to add vitamin B12 to their products, the rate of heart disease and stroke decreased by about 15 percent. Folic acid also helps remove homocysteine, a toxic compound that can lead to severe artery damage if not eliminated from the blood.
7. Helps keep brain young
Adequate folate levels are necessary for proper brain functioning. Studies have shown that folate benefits the brain by slowing down the effects of aging.
Folic acid is used to cure depression and enhance mood regulation. An adequate folate level is necessary for proper brain functioning.
Folic acid works with vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help the body utilize and digest proteins.
10. Healthy Glow:
The proper intake of folic acid can give one’s skin a natural, healthy, and moisturized glow.
11. Heart Disease:
Folic acid, along with vitamin B12, helps the heart in many ways. They help reduce blood clotting; blood clots lead to cardiovascular disease. Hence, it helps reduce the chances of heart attacks.
Folic acid can prevent the cancer cells from multiplying. You can be protected from colon cancer by consuming folic acid supplements. It can also help prevent cervical cancer and pancreatic cancer.
Folic acid can reduce the fat content in the blood. This may help in handling obesity and thus, prevent type 2 diabetes.
14. Gum Infection:
Folic acid can be directly applied to the gum to cure gum infections.