We often don’t hear a lot about the importance of folic acid unless it’s being associated with pregnancy. It’s true, expecting moms need adequate amounts of folic acid to avoid potential birth defects, but really this special B-vitamin is important for all of us. In fact, some medical researchers call folic acid one of the most vital nutrients we take into our bodies. So how do you know if you have a folic acid deficiency, and what can you do about it? Read this blog post to learn about the signs, and the possible solution.
Signs of a Folic Acid Deficiency
Folic Acid (or folate) is a water-soluble B9 vitamin that is absorbed through our diet (food and/or supplements) and flushed back out through our urine. That means you need to consume adequate amounts of it daily to avoid a folic acid deficiency. Its role in our bodies is to assist in the creation of healthy new cells – including DNA and red blood cells, so yeah, it’s pretty important. When you’re not getting enough of it, your body will let you know.
Here are the most common signs of folic acid deficiency:
- Sluggish Immune System – constantly getting sick.
- Chronic Fatigue – low energy, always feeling tired.
- Anemia – low red blood cell count.
- Digestion Issues – constipation, bloating, or diarrhea.
- Mouth Sores –painful lesions inside the mouth or a swollen tongue.
How to Overcome a Folic Acid Deficiency
The good news if you’re suffering from a folic acid deficiency, it may be fixed pretty easily with diet and supplements. If you do, your symptoms will likely go away. On average, it’s recommended that adults consume at least 400 mcg of folate each day, and for children the recommended amount is typically 300 mcg. Women who are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, are often encouraged to take even more than that. Talk to your medical professional about the dosage they recommend for you.
**It must be noted that women who are pregnant have greater risks of folic acid deficiency, which could include serious, life-threatening birth defects for their baby. For more information on folic acid and pregnancy, read this article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Where to Get Folic Acid
- Diet – Folic acid is naturally found in many of the foods we eat. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and romaine lettuce are great sources, as well as many type of beans and grains.
- Supplements – If you aren’t confident that you are receiving enough folic acid through your diet alone, a supplement can give you great peace of mind. Many multivitamins like Daily One Caps without Iron from Twin Lab already have it included, or you could take an additional folic acid supplement on its own, such as Folic Acid 400 mcg from Solgar.
Have you had to overcome a folic acid deficiency? Tell us what you changed in your diet and how you felt better afterwards in the comments below!