The immune system’s main purpose is to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, or any foreign substances (called antigens) that could potentially cause harm to the body. The immune system recognizes these antigens and gets rid of them by triggering unique defense cells (called lymphocytes) to make antibodies. The immune system is extremely important in protecting the body against disease-causing microbes, but the immune system becomes weak sometimes and can fail in carrying out its functions, thus allowing these antigens to successfully enter the body and make the person sick.
With how intricate the immune system works as a system, it is important to boost the immune system performance in the best possible way we can. Folic acid plays a key role in synthesizing protein and DNA, which supports the immune system.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a B vitamin that the body utilizes in producing and maintaining new cells. Folic acid also helps in preventing alterations to the DNA that could cause cancer.
Foods like spinach, dried peas, Brussels sprouts, lentils, asparagus, and liver contain folic acid. Folic acid medications are used in treating conditions like folic deficiency and anemia caused by folic deficiency. The formation of red blood cells requires sufficient amounts of the vitamin. When the body is folate deficient, alterations to the immune response become so low that harmful microorganisms causing infections can easily invade the body since there is little resistance.
Folic acid is also essential for women at a childbearing age, since the intake of this vitamin before conception reduces the occurrence of birth defects called neural tube defects. The neural tube defect is the malfunctions in the brain, spine, or spinal cord.
The two common birth defect is the anencephaly and Spina Bifida. Spina Bifida, or opening of the spine, is more common while anencephaly, which is the failure of the brain to develop, is more serious. The intake of this folate supplement rapidly manufactures DNA which is necessary for rapid cell division, the formation of tissue and organs information of a fetus
Folic acid also reduces the occurrence of other potential health risks relating to heart disease and stroke.
Causes of Folate Deficiency
Insufficient folic acid in the body could lead to folate deficiency which could cause anemia. Folate deficiency could also occur when there is a genetic mutation in the body that Inhibits it from absorbing folate or from converting it into a usable form.
Various situations can cause folate deficiency, especially when the diet is low on fresh fruits, vegetables, and fortified cereals. Symptoms associated with folate deficiency include fatigue, mouth sores, irritability, pale skin, and growth problems.
For healthy adults, it is recommended to take 400 mcg of folic acid, while for pregnant women 600 MCG folic acid is recommended. Since folic acid is water-soluble and excess of it is passed out through urine, so there are health risks of taking folic acid in an excess dosage.