Folic Acid is a B-vitamin that is essential for DNA synthesis. It therefore plays a major role in the body, and its deficiency
has been implicated in a wide variety of disorders. For example, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke
are correlated with low folate levels, as are osteoporosis, cervical and colon cancers, depression, dementia, hearing loss,
insomnia, irritability, forgetfulness, psychosis, nerve damage, and various birth defects. Folate deficiencies are common,
even in the First World; and less-than-optimal folate intake is probably the rule rather than the exception throughout the
world. Furthermore, many drugs such as methotrexate, levopoda, niacin, phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazepine, and theophylline
can markedly reduce folic acid levels.
Recent research provides evidence that folate supplementation may prevent or alleviate a variety of conditions, including:
- birth defects such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and deformities of the brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida)
- childhood leukemia caused by low folate levels during pregnancy
- high homocysteine levels
- cancers of the digestive tract and nervous system
- cervical dysplasia
- heart disease
- psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis in methotrexate-treated patients
- restless leg syndrome (1.25-15 mg/day)
Folic acid supplementation can decrease the body’s production of homocysteine — an amino acid associated with various ailments
such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, bone fractures, hypertension, blood clots, strokes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other
neurological and cognitive problems.
Note: Extra folic acid can mask the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency.