What is Folic Acid?

By | 17 February 2021

Folic acid was first separated from natural food in some pharmacology laboratories in the United States in 1943-1944. Its chemical structure was shown 2 years later.

Folic acid is involved in the production and proliferation of blood cells and strengthening the immune system. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is generally found in foods of animal origin. The most common foods are liver, organ meats, legumes, walnuts, almonds, and green leafy vegetables. The bioavailability (rate of use by the body) of the form found in plants is low.

Since folic acid consists of several parts as a molecule, it is easily broken down by the effect of heat. The higher the cooking temperature and the longer the cooking time, the greater the loss of folic acid. Also, the way of cooking affects the loss. While the loss is less with the frying method, it is more in the aqueous cooking method. Also, the loss is higher with the removal of the cooking water. The most accurate cooking management is done in a short time, in less water, without spilling water.

For folic acid to be more beneficial, vitamin C intake is also very important in the daily diet. An adult’s daily need for it is approximately 400 mcg. Daily requirement increases during hyperthyroidism, liver diseases, hemolytic anemia, malabsorption, pregnancy, and lactation.

During the return of pregnancy, the need for folic acid increases due to the growth of the placenta, the enlargement of the uterus, and the increase in blood volume. It is known that it is effective in DNA synthesis and cell division in pregnant women and fetus physiology. In its deficiency, neural tube defect (NTD) occurs as a result of a congenital (congenital) abnormality of the brain and spinal cord. For this reason, it is very important to use folic acid during pregnancy and the pre-pregnancy period. This amount is 200 mcg in addition to the daily requirement. In other words, reliable intake during pregnancy is known as 600 mcg per day and the upper intake level as 1000 mcg per day. Since this increased need cannot be met by diet alone, it should be given as a tablet.