Warning Signs You May Be Out of Balance: Folic Acid
Folic acid is an essential component of the human body. Folic acid and folate are water soluble and are actually a form of vitamin B9. We all get our folic acid from the foods we eat. Or, if your diet is not naturally rich in folate, you can take a dietary supplements to get your levels back in order.
So why is folic acid so important? Actually, it is a primary component in the replication of DNA and cell development. I would say that is pretty important, right?
As you can imagine, if folic acid levels are below normal, it can cause serious harm to the body and pose risks for the development of certain diseases later in life. For instance, those with low levels of folic acid are at a greater risk for developing certain cancers including that of the breast, colon or pancreas.
In severe cases, those with a folic acid deficiency may develop anemia, which has been known to be associated with several neuropsychiatric disorders. Hearing loss in the elderly is also thought to be attributed to low levels of folic acid as this can cause the nerves and blood vessels of the auditory system to deteriorate.
It is also important to note that those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may be seriously affected by folic acid deficiency as the lack of the vitamin has been connected to the atrophy of the cerebral cortex, which only acts to exacerbate the symptoms of the disease or condition and further its progression much faster than normal.
So, how can you tell if you are folic acid deficient? Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Pale skin
- Rapid heart beat
- Sore tongue
- General feeling of illness
- Jaundice Weakness
While it is serious if you have a folic acid deficiency, it does not mean that you will always have problems, always be unhealthy or end up with a serious disease. In fact, if you notice you are feeling a bit off and you go to the doctor, you may just end up taking folic acid supplements until your levels return back to normal. It really may be as easy as that.
Treatment can also include avoiding certain substances such as alcohol, tobacco or anything that will prevent the absorption of iron.
Those with the serious form of folic acid deficiency anemia will probably have ongoing problems despite the folic acid returning to normal levels such as infertility, increased risk for infection and heart disease.