What Part Does Folic Acid Play in Nutrition?


Quick Answer

Many bodily functions, such as the production of healthy red blood cells, the synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA, and rapid cell growth and division rely on an adequate supply of folic acid, according to Medical News Today. Folic acid also enhances brain health, and it can reportedly improve memory skills. Pregnant women who take folic acid can also prevent birth defects of their baby's spine or brain, including anencephaly and spina bifida.

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Full Answer

Folic acid is taken to prevent and treat folate deficiency and its complications, including anemia and the bowel's inability to absorb nutrients, according to WebMD. Other disorders related to folate deficiency, such as liver disease, kidney dialysis, ulcerative colitis and alcoholism, are treated with sufficient folic acid intake as well. Folic acid is also used to prevent cervical cancer, colon cancer, stroke and heart disease. It is also taken to reduce the blood levels of homocysteine, a chemical that can cause heart disease.

Some patients with gum infections apply folic acid directly to the affected area, reports WebMD. Patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease, memory loss, osteoporosis, depression and restless leg syndrome also take folic acid to treat their conditions. Those who undergo treatment using medications such as methotrexate and lometrexol take folic acid to reduce dangerous side effects.

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