Folic Acid Deficiency and Side Effects


Folic acid deficiency is one of the most common types of nutritional deficiency and it can cause megaloblastic anemia, which is characterized by a reduced number of red blood cells. This disease can cause weakness, fatigue, headache, irritability, difficulty concentrating and shortness of breath.

Folic acid deficiency can occur in a number of situations. Like low dietary intake and diminished absorption, as in alcoholism, can cause decrease supply of folic acid. Certain condition such as pregnancy or cancer can result in an increased rate of cell division and metabolism, thus increasing the body’s demand of folic acid, which if not met can cause deficiency. It may also be caused as a side effect of various medications.

Symptoms of folic acid deficiency may include:

  • Megaloblastic anemia, in which red blood cells become large and uneven in size
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Paleness
  • Sore, red tongue
  • Mild mental symptoms, such as forgetfulness and confusion
  • Diarrhea

folic acid deficiencyFolic acid is a vitamin that many people have deficiency of, especially among women. If you fall into the following category of people than you too may be deficient of folic acid:

  • People who are 55 years of age or older
  • Women who are either pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Women who use oral contraceptive
  • Those who abuse alcohol or other drugs
  • People with inadequate calorie or nutritional dietary intake
  • People who have more than normal nutritional requirements
  • People with chronic wasting illness, AIDS/HIV
  • People who have recently endured some type of injury
  • People who have been suffering from stress for an extended period of time

Folic acid is an important vitamin during pregnancy that can lower the risk of birth defect in the brain and spinal cord of the child. Most people should be able to get an adequate amount of folic acid from their diet. However, alcoholics and pregnant women can require more than normal, and should consider taking a multivitamin tablet for it. It is recommended that a pregnant woman consumes about 600 mg of folic acid everyday, in order to ensure their child’s safety.

A couple of folic acid foods are cereals, spinach, brocoli, orange juice, nuts, and most meats such as porc.

Although it is not common to suffer from folic acid to side effects, they can occur if a large dosage of it is taken on a daily basis for too long. These side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Allergic reaction
  • Sleeping problem
  • Irritability and increase in activity level
  • Loose stools and diarrhea
  • Difficulty concentrating

For this reason it is important to regulate the amount of folic acid consumption as not to take a large dosage but unless you take supplements you probably will not take enough of it to suffer from folic acid side effects from just eating regular meals that contain it. On the other hand, if you want to avoid folic acid deficiency you should definitely make sure to add some in your diet so you can take advantage of the many folic acid benefits which are of great help for your health!

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