You probably know that 10 Important Health Benefits of Folic Acid (also known as folate) can help promote the health of unborn babies. Still, you may not be aware of the many other powers of this B-complex vitamin. The average adult should have around 400 micrograms every day, and folic acid is available in supplement form and many vegetables and pulses. So here are the ten most important reasons you should add more folic acid to your diet.
#1. It can keep you cognitively sharp as you age
Low levels of folic acid are linked to an increased likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease and various forms of dementia. For example, one particularly compelling study revealed that participants with the lowest benefits of folic acid were a staggering three times more likely to suffer from degenerative neurological problems.
It is theorized that folate helps preserve cognitive function by protecting you from a build-up of homocysteine. This amino acid plays a role in damaging brain cells that produce dopamine.
#2. It promotes oral health
Folic acid is necessary for producing certain mouth cells, so if you are not providing your body with enough folic acid, you may suffer from more dental health problems. For example, there is an established link between folic acid deficiency and an increased risk of gum inflammation and gum disease.
#3. It can boost mood
Folic acid supplements are not an appropriate replacement for antidepressants if you suffer from severe mood problems, but there is strong evidence that folic acid can improve bad mood, increase energy and reduce feelings of irritability.
Research into this connection is ongoing, but scientists suspect that the explanation is connected to folic acid’s role in balancing neurotransmitters (as well as aiding in their production).
#4. It may protect you against certain types of cancer
If you don’t have adequately high benefits of folic acid intake, you are more likely to develop malignancies of the female reproductive system, digestive organs, and lungs. Consequently, increasing your folic acid intake could afford you increased protection against all of these cancers.
#5. It can help women transition after the menopause
Folate can help postmenopausal women experience fewer hot flashes and improve general wellbeing.
#6. It can keep your bones strong
People with osteoporosis are often found to have low folate levels, so a greater intake of folic acid may help protect your bones from breaks. Once again, homocysteine is thought to play a role in this connection, as people with high homocysteine levels are 50% more likely to suffer from fractures. Studies show that increasing your folic acid intake reduces homocysteine levels and fracture risk.
#7. It can help to treat fatigue
If you are always tired, try increasing your folic acid intake. Folic acid deficiency is a common cause of chronic fatigue, leaving people feeling exhausted even after a full eight hours of sleep.
#8. It reduces the risk of anemia
Folic acid is necessary for red blood cell production, so a folic acid deficiency makes you more likely to have an inadequate amount of red blood cells. This condition is called anemia, and it means that your vital organs do not get enough oxygen (since oxygen is carried by red blood cells).
#9. It aids in the healthy development
Folic acid plays a crucial role in developing an unborn baby’s nervous system, aiding in the proper growth of the brain and spinal cord. As a result, women deficient in folic acid during pregnancy are more likely to deliver children who have exposed and poorly formed spines (i.e., spina bifida) and exposed brains (i.e., anencephaly).
#10. It can protect you from heart disease
Finally, the connection between the benefits of folic acid and a reduction in homocysteine means that a higher intake of folic acid can also afford you some protection from cardiovascular disease. Specifically, people with overly high homocysteine levels are among the most likely to suffer from heart disease and heart attacks.