Folate is also known as folic acid or vitamin B9. Folate is a yellow crystalline substance, sparingly soluble in water and stable in acidic solution. Folates can get destroyed by cooking, sunlight, and food processing. It is effective in the treatment of anaemia relating to pregnancy and tropical spur(an intestinal malabsorption condition).
Folic acid is absorbed along the entire length of the intestine, although the jejunum of the small intestine is the primary site for its absorption. About half of the folic acid stored in the body is in the liver which contains 5 to 15 mg/kg of liver weight.A small amount is excreted in the faeces and urine but the additional amounts are presumed to be metabolized and also lost by cells coming off in scales from body surfaces.
Causes And Symptoms Of Folic Acid Deficiency
Folate is not produced in the body and therefore it we have to rely on food containing folic acid.
- Folate deficiency is caused due to low intake of folate containing foods, such as green leafy vegetables, legumes and enriched food grains.
- The other cause is prolonged cooking and storage where almost 90 percent of folate is lost.
- Alcoholism, malabsorption disease, certain drugs, kidney dialysis, is other causes of folate deficiency.
Folate Deficiency Symptoms
Symptoms of folate deficiency include:
- Skin disorders.
- Loss of hair.
- Impaired circulation.
- Mental depression.
- Grey or brown skin pigmentation.
- Spontaneous abortions.
- High infant mortality.
- Loss of libido in males.
- Smooth and shiny tongue.
Cerebral Folate Deficiency Symptoms
- Cerebral folate deficiency symptom is a newly described condition where there is low folate level in cerebrospinal fluid, where as the blood folate is normal.
- It is present in infancy and the onset is at around 4 to 6 months of age. There is delayed development in child, spasticity, speech difficulty, epilepsy and hypotonic muscles are some of the symptoms noted.
- Later on the child may present with autistic symptoms, gait ataxia and tremors.
B12 And Folic Acid Deficiency Symptoms
B12 and folate are B-complex vitamins having the role in normal red blood cell formation. Deficiency of any or both the vitamins will give rise to megaloblastic anemia. Symptoms of this may be:
Anemia, weakness, shortness of breath, neuropathy, tingling numbness and dementia of some nature are vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency symptoms.