Food science: Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is an essential B vitamin that our bodies use to form DNA and produce red blood cells. Here is everything you need to know about folate deficiency.
Formation of DNA and promoting proper fetal development. Besides, folate also can break down protein so it can be utilized by the body and synthesis antibodies. It could also synthesize red blood cells, which is especially important for women during menstruation.
Signs of folate deficiency
Mild symptoms of folate deficiency include:
- Tongue inflammation
- Mouth sores
If a folate deficiency is left untreated, more severe symptoms can develop over time, including:
- Decreased nerve function
- Developmental issues for a fetus if you are pregnant
Causes of folate deficiency
Folate deficiency occurs when folic acid blood levels drop below 2 ng/ml in blood plasma and 140 ng/ml in red blood cells. It usually occurs when you do not consume enough folate in your diet. The recommended daily intake of folate for both male and female aged 14 and above is 400 mcg, whereas for female during pregnancy and lactation are 600 mcg and 500 mcg respectively.
Women during pregnancy or lactation require folate to sustain as the fetus requires large amounts of folate to develop properly. Therefore, they should consider taking a folate-containing prenatal vitamin to prevent a deficiency that could harm their baby. Furthermore, inadequate folate during pregnancy, especially during the first 28 days of development, is related to neural tube defects.
Sources of folate
Consume food that is high in folate is the only way to treat the deficiency. Foods that are high in folate include broccoli, leafy greens such as cabbage and spinach, eggs.
Folate is a good source of red blood cell production. Try to consume more folate-rich food to avoid folate deficiency as it is always recommended to consume high nutritious food.
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