Folic Acid - Uses, Side Effects, Warnings, and More

Folic Acid – Uses, Side Effects, Warnings, and More

Folic Acid – Uses, Side Effects, Warnings, and More

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Overview

Folate and folic acid are both types of vitamin B9 that are used to treat deficiencies as well as to reduce the risk of difficulties during pregnancy. Folate or folic acid are both found naturally in a wide variety of foods.

Folic acid has been legally required to be added to a variety of products, including cold cereals, flour, bread, pasta, bakery items, cookies, and crackers, since the year 1998. Folate can be found in foods that are naturally abundant, such as green leafy vegetables, okra, asparagus, certain fruits, beans, yeast, mushrooms, animal liver and kidney, orange juice, and tomato juice. Folate can also be synthesized in the body. Folic acid is also sold as a supplement, which is how most people take it. It is typically taken in conjunction with the other B vitamins.

Folic acid is employed in the treatment of high blood levels of homocysteine as well as the prevention of low blood levels of folate, which is referred to as folate deficiency (hyperhomocysteinemia). Folic acid is recommended to be taken by women who are pregnant or who have the potential to become pregnant in order to reduce the risk of significant birth abnormalities like spina bifida. Folic acid is also utilized for the treatment of a wide variety of other disorders, such as depression, stroke, memory loss, and a deterioration in cognitive abilities, amongst many more.

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Uses & Effectiveness

Effective treatment for low folate levels. A folate shortage can be improved by taking folic acid.

Most Likely to Be Successful for

  • Homocysteine levels that are abnormally high in the blood (hyperhomocysteinemia). There is a correlation between this syndrome and both heart disease and stroke. Persons who have kidney failure, people with normal or high homocysteine levels, and people who take folic acid orally can have a reduction in their homocysteine levels.
  • Methotrexate’s side effects can be considered toxic. It appears that taking folic acid orally can lessen the amount of nausea and vomiting caused by the methotrexate treatment.
  • Congenital conditions affect the brain and the spine (neural tube birth defects). During pregnancy, lowering the risk of certain birth abnormalities can be accomplished by taking 600–800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily through oral consumption. Folic acid can be obtained through food or from nutritional supplements. It is recommended that persons who are at high risk take between 400 and 5000 mcg each day.

Possible Usefulness in Regards to

  • Memory and cognitive abilities tend to deteriorate with age in elderly people. People who are above the age of 60 and have a greater drop in thinking skills than would be predicted at that age may benefit from taking folic acid orally, with or without other supplements, in order to boost their memory and thinking skills. But it doesn’t seem to work on older folks who have the typical deterioration in thinking skills that comes with getting older.
  • Depression. Folic acid, when taken orally in combination with antidepressant medication, appears to ameliorate the symptoms of depression in certain depressed individuals.
  • Elevated levels of blood pressure. People who have high blood pressure and who are not currently taking any other medications to treat their hypertension may have a reduction in their blood pressure if they take folic acid orally on a daily basis for a period of at least six weeks.
  • The side effect of phenytoin is an expansion of the gums. It would appear that applying folic acid to the gums would prevent this problem. However, taking oral folic acid supplements does not appear to be helpful.
  • Stroke. It is possible that taking folic acid supplements can lower the chance of having a stroke in parts of the world where grain products do not naturally contain folic acid. However, it does not appear that taking folic acid supplements is beneficial for persons who reside in countries where folic acid is already added to grain products.
  • A condition of the skin that manifests itself is the development of white patches on the skin (vitiligo). Folic acid taken orally appears to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of this illness.
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It’s Possible That This Won’t Work for

  • Anemia is characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells and is caused by an iron deficit. Anemia cannot be treated any more effectively by taking folic acid in addition to an iron supplement than it can be treated by taking an iron supplement on its own.
  • Memory loss and a general slowing of thought processes are both natural consequences of advancing age. It does not appear that taking folic acid in pill form can prevent the normal and expected loss in cognitive ability that comes with advancing age in healthy persons.
  • Cataracts. It is not possible to prevent cataracts by taking folic acid orally in combination with vitamins B6 and B12. In point of fact, it may result in an increase in the number of cataracts that require surgical removal.
  • Diarrhea. It does not appear that giving children who are at risk of malnutrition folic acid by mouth will prevent diarrhea in those children. In point of fact, it may even raise the likelihood of experiencing diarrhea that lasts for more than a few days at a time.
  • Fall prevention. In older adults who are already taking vitamin D, oral administration of folic acid in combination with vitamin B12 did not appear to reduce the risk of falling.
  • male factor(s) infertility It does not appear that oral consumption of folic acid, either on its own or in combination with other components, can promote male fertility.
  • The passing away of an unborn child or a newborn born prematurely. It does not appear that taking oral folic acid supplements during pregnancy will lower the chance of a baby passing away soon prior to or shortly after birth. On the other hand, this helps the baby avoid developing additional health problems.
  • a malignancy affecting the white blood cells (leukemia). Consuming folate through the digestive system when pregnant does not lower the risk of this particular cancer in the offspring.
  • Fragile and fragile bone tissue (osteoporosis). It does not appear that taking folic acid by mouth in combination with vitamin B12 and/or vitamin B6 can prevent broken bones in older patients who have osteoporosis.
  • performance in physical activities by older persons. It does not appear that taking folic acid and vitamin B12 together in the form of a pill can help older persons walk more steadily or have stronger hands.
  • Having a pregnancy complicated by high blood pressure. Taking folic acid pills in high doses does not appear to lower blood pressure during pregnancy or the chance of developing a disease known as pre-eclampsia, according to research.
  • A disease that affects the airways. It does not appear that taking folic acid by mouth can protect children who are at risk of developing malnourished from getting lung infections.
  • There is a high probability that this treatment will not be effective for non-cancerous growths in the large intestine and rectum (colorectal adenoma). It has not been shown that taking folic acid supplements can prevent growths in the rectum or the large intestine.
  • A genetic disorder that is characterized by difficulties in learning (fragile-X syndrome). Consuming folic acid through the digestive system does not alleviate the symptoms of fragile X syndrome.
  • Birth that is too early. Folic acid taken orally throughout pregnancy does not reduce the likelihood of having a baby born prematurely.
  • However, this does help to protect the kid from developing other health problems.
  • Folic acid is being considered for usage in a variety of other contexts, however, there is an insufficient quantity of trustworthy data to determine whether or not these contexts might benefit from its application.
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Side Effects

Folic acid, when taken orally, should not exceed 1 milligram on a daily basis; this amount is thought to be safe for the vast majority of persons. Doses more than 1 mg per day have the potential to be harmful. These doses could potentially induce gastrointestinal distress, nausea, diarrhea, agitation, confusion, changes in behavior, skin responses, seizures, and other adverse effects.

In addition to the type of folic acid known as L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), supplements may also contain L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate. It is possible that amounts of this particular kind of folic acid, up to roughly 400 mcg per day, are safe for the majority of people.

There is some concern that taking an excessive amount of folic acid for an extended period of time may result in major adverse effects. Folic acid supplementation in levels ranging from 0.8 to 1.2 milligrams per day has been linked in some studies to an increased risk of developing cancer as well as an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack in individuals who already have preexisting heart conditions.

Special Precautions and Warnings

  • Folic acid, when taken orally, should not exceed 1 milligram on a daily basis; this amount is thought to be safe for the vast majority of persons. Doses more than 1 mg per day have the potential to be harmful. These doses could potentially induce gastrointestinal distress, nausea, diarrhea, agitation, confusion, changes in behavior, skin responses, seizures, and other adverse effects.

In addition to the type of folic acid known as L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), supplements may also contain L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate. It is possible that amounts of this particular kind of folic acid, up to roughly 400 mcg per day, are safe for the majority of people.

There is some concern that taking an excessive amount of folic acid for an extended period of time may result in major adverse effects. Folic acid supplementation in levels ranging from 0.8 to 1.2 milligrams per day has been linked in some studies to an increased risk of developing cancer as well as an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack in individuals who already have preexisting heart conditions. Pregnancy and the act of nursing a baby: It is suggested that women take between 300 and 400 micrograms of folic acid every day while they are pregnant in order to reduce the risk of certain birth abnormalities. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the maximum quantity of folic acid that is advised for women under the age of 18 is 800 mcg per day, while the highest amount recommended for women over the age of 18 is 1000 mcg per day. Do not use more than the recommended amount unless instructed to do so by a healthcare expert.

In addition to the type of folic acid known as L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), supplements may also contain L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate. When pregnant or nursing, it is possible to take this particular kind of folic acid at a level of up to 400 mcg on a daily basis without adverse effects.

  • Youngsters: It is probably safe for children to consume the amounts of folic acid that are suggested for their age by oral supplementation. Folic acid should not be given to children in dosages that are higher than the daily upper limits. Folic acid can cause birth defects. These limitations are 300 mcg for children aged one to three years old, 400 mcg for children aged four to eight years old, 600 mcg for children aged nine to thirteen years old, and 800 mcg for children aged fourteen to eighteen years old.
  • In addition to the type of folic acid known as L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), supplements may also contain L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate. It is possible that children can safely consume this kind of folic acid.
  • It is possible that taking folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 will make narrowed arteries even more severe. Angioplasty is a procedure that can enlarge restricted arteries. Individuals who are in the process of healing from this operation should not take folic acid.
  • Cancer: Preliminary study indicates that consuming 0.8-1 mg of folic acid on a daily basis may raise the risk of developing cancer. People who have a family history of cancer should avoid taking large dosages of folic acid until further research is conducted.
  • People who already have seizure problems should probably avoid taking folic acid supplements, especially those that come in very high amounts, because they may make their seizures even worse.
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Interactions

Interaction that is Not Overbearing

Take precautions when using these two together.

Cerebyx (fosphenytoin) has been shown to interact with folic acid.

Fosphenytoin is a medication that is prescribed for seizures. Fosphenytoin is eliminated from the body by breakdown into its component parts. Folic acid has the potential to hasten the process by which the body breaks down fosphenytoin. It is possible that taking folic acid in conjunction with fosphenytoin will lessen the effectiveness of fosphenytoin in avoiding seizures.

There is a reaction between phenobarbital (Luminal) and folic acid.

Patients who suffer from seizures are given phenobarbital. It’s possible that taking folic acid will lessen the effectiveness of phenobarbital in avoiding seizures.

There is an interaction between phenytoin (Dilantin) and folic acid.

Phenytoin is eliminated from the body through the process of metabolic breakdown. The rate at which phenytoin is eliminated from the body may be accelerated by folic acid. It is possible that taking folic acid while also taking phenytoin will reduce the efficiency of the phenytoin and raise the risk of seizures.

Primidone, also known as Mysoline, has an effect on Folic Acid.

Primidone is prescribed to treat epileptic seizures. Some people get seizure activity when they take folic acid. It is possible that taking folic acid in conjunction with primidone will lessen the effectiveness of primidone in avoiding seizures.

Pyrimethamine, often known as Daraprim, has an interaction with folate.

Infections caused by parasites can be treated with pyrimethamine. Folic acid may lessen the effectiveness of the antiparasitic medication pyrimethamine in treating parasite infections.

There is a reaction between 5-fluorouracil and folic acid.

There is a possibility that the adverse effects of 5-fluorouracil could be exacerbated if significant quantities of folic acid were taken at the same time as the medication. Stomach issues are of particular concern. Before beginning to take folic acid, you should consult with your primary care physician.

It has been shown that the drug capecitabine (Xeloda) interacts with folic acid.

There is some evidence to suggest that consuming excessive doses of folic acid can make the adverse effects of capecitabine more severe, particularly those that affect the stomach, such as nausea and vomiting. Before beginning to take folic acid, you should consult with your primary care physician.

Dosing

Folic acid is an important vitamin. The term “recommended dietary allowance” refers to the quantity that should be ingested on a daily basis at the very least (RDA). Dietary folate equivalents, often known as DFE, are used to refer to the recommended daily allowance for folic acid. This is because the folic acid contained in supplements is easier for the body to absorb than the folate that can be found in food. There is no difference between 1 mcg of DFE and 1 mcg of folate that comes from diet. However, 0.6 mcg of folic acid is equivalent to 1 mcg of DFE when taken as a supplement.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults is 400 mcg of DFE. The recommended daily allowance for DFE during pregnancy is 600 mcg. The daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for DFE when nursing is 500 mcg. When calculating the RDA for children, age is a factor. Talk to a medical professional about your symptoms to get a recommendation on the appropriate dosage for your condition.

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