Folic Acid (folate) is a B vitamin (vitamin B9). Folic Acid deficiency is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the world. It is present in foods such as dried beans, peas, lentils, oranges, whole-wheat products, liver, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts and spinach. Eating a variety of these folate-enriched foods is the best way to ensure an adequate intake of Folic Acid. Unfortunately, the common American diet consists of an alarming amount of ~fast foods~. Additionally, substantial amounts of Folic Acid are lost by today’s methods of food preparation, cooking and food storage. Therefore, supplementation of Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) is often suggested.
Folic Acid is essential in energy production and in the formation of red blood cells. It strengthens the immune system by aiding in the proper formation and functioning of white blood cells. It is required for healthy cell division and replication. It is also involved in protein metabolism and synthesizing genetic material in every cell of the body to normalize brain function. One of the most important roles that Folic Acid plays is in regulating homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid naturally formed in the body as a result of the breakdown of another amino acid, methionine. Increased levels of homocysteine have been associated with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to the accumulation of fatty plaques) and osteoporosis by the interference of collagen cross-linking. Deficiencies in Folic Acid may also lead to decreasing size of the thymus and lymph nodes, as well as damage to white blood cell function.
Those who suffer from Folic Acid deficiency tend to be pregnant women, women taking birth control bills, postmenopausal women, alcoholics, anemics, people who have chronic diarrhea, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, gout and the elderly population in general.
There is an increased demand for Folic Acid in pregnant women because of the high demand from the developing fetus. Folic Acid helps regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation and may prevent a vast majority of neural tube defects including spina bifida, anencephaly and premature birth. Conversely, birth control pills block the effects of Folic Acid within cells by stimulating a molecule to inhibit the absorption of Folic Acid by other cells. Decreased levels of Folic Acid enhance a woman’s risk factor of cervical dysplasia and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Although postmenopausal women aren’t necessarily deficient in Folic Acid, supplementing Folic Acid in their daily diet has demonstrated a significant reduction in homocysteine levels that may help decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
The most common symptom of Folic Acid deficiency is depression. More noticeable symptoms of Folic Acid deficiency are chronic diarrhea, fatigue, insomnia, graying hair, paranoia and a swollen, red tongue. Our body doesn’t store large quantities of Folic Acid. Therefore, supplementation of this vitamin is often recommended. Each vegetarian capsule of Olympian Labs’ Folic Acid contains 800mcg and is packaged in amber glass bottles to protect it from the potentially damaging effects of environmental changes. Olympian Labs’ Folic Acid is a 100% pure, vegetarian formulation containing no animal bi-products and is available in easy-to-swallow, kosher-certified capsules.