Why is folic acid important?

Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that is considered good for the body.  Its natural form is called “folate,” and many people also refer to it as Vitamin B9 or folacin.  Folic acid as a vitamin is considered an important substance in the body for various health reasons.  One such health benefit is the possible prevention of abnormalities during a woman’s pregnancy.  During such time, a woman’s body is considered very fragile and sensitive and needs various nutrients including the all-important folic acid.  During pregnancy, healthy levels of folic acid may prevent defects in the neural tube which may lead to abnormalities in the baby’s spinal column and brain.  For this reason alone, pregnant women are usually advised to take folic acid supplements to protect their babies from possible spinal abnormalities and brain defects.

For the general public, folic acid also plays an important role in the prevention of various cancers including colon cancer and cervical cancer.  The gastrointestinal tract also benefits from adequate folic acid as stomach and/or esophageal cancers may also be prevented with adequate levels of this very important B vitamin. Studies have shown that the incidence of these types of cancer may be lowered with the help of folic acid in the body.

There are also studies that folic acid may also prevent major diseases such as stroke in some individuals.  With regular folic acid intake, patients with a stroke, for example, have a decrease in their pulse pressure.  With such an effect, the likelihood of one suffering a stroke is also decreased as increased blood pressure is considered a risk factor in developing a stroke.

In seemingly normal people, folic acid still plays an important role in the body in terms of cell development and protection from cell damage.  For treatment and/or supplementation with folic acid, every person is encouraged to consult with their doctors.

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