Thursday, April 20, 2006

6 Signs and Symptoms of Folic Acid Deficiency

Folic Acid is an essential nutrient that is required for your
body to achieve or maintain optimal health. It is important for
everything from cardiovascular to central nervous system health.
Folic Acid, also known as vitamin B9, is part of the B-Complex
group of vitamins, and deficiency of Folic Acid is the most
common deficiency of any of the B-vitamins. Folic Acid also
works along with vitamin B-12 for the important task of forming
red blood cells which carry oxygen to all of your body's cells.

Some of the signs and symptoms of Folic Acid deficiency you
would want to be aware of would include:

*Depression- Because folic acid is such an important part in
your central nervous system health, if you are deficient you may
experience symptoms such as fatigue, depression or forgetfulness

*Irritability- Again associated with your central nervous system
health. People that are deficient in Folic Acid often feel
irritable and tense.

*High Homocysteine Levels- Working along with other B-Complex
Vitamins, folic acid works to lower homocysteine levels. People
with high homocysteine levels have been shown to have an
increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks
and strokes.

*Birth Defects and Miscarriage- Folic acid is critical in the
development of your fetus. Neural Tube Defects are a devastating
result of folic acid deficiency that will affect your child for
the rest of its life. It is important that all women that are
pregnant or trying to get pregnant take a folic acid supplement.

*Potential Involvement With Some Cancers- Some cancers have been
associated with abnormally low levels of folic acid.

*Losses of Appetite or Diarrhea- Many different vitamin
deficiencies have been linked to gastrointestinal problems.

It is very important to identify potential causes of a folic
acid deficiency so they can be corrected!

Is your diet complete with foods that are rich in folic acid,
such as spinach and other green leafy vegetables, soybeans,
salmon, or orange juice?

Are you taking any prescription or over the counter drug that
has been shown to either lower folic acid levels, or increase
your bodies need for folic acid such as oral contraceptives,
aspirin or other NSAIDS, antacids, Zantac, Prilosec, Prevacid or
Metformin?

If you want to learn more about why your body needs folic acid
to maintain health please visit:
http://www.essential-nutrients.net/vitamin_B9.htm

If you would like to learn more about other medications that
have the potential to put you at risk of other vitamin and
mineral deficiencies please visit:
http://www.essential-nutrients.net/

Don Ford, MD

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

C. Donald Ford, MD, Diplomate of the American Board Internal
Medicine. Dr. Ford has practiced general internal medicine for
the past 22 years. He is a native Texan and trained at Baylor
University, the University of Texas Medical School at Houston,
and Scott and White in Temple. He is a Clinical Assistant
professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

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