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Folic acid may help in our normal body functions, but as in all supplements and medicines, side effects of folic acid may be possible with improper and misguided use. Thus, it is always best to use these supplements as directed.
Folic acid is a B vitamin that is used in our bodies for cell formation and multiplication, DNA replication, formation of red and white blood cells, and other important central functions. You can take in natural folic acid from many foods such as green, leafy vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, peanuts, and meat sources.
Even if folic acid is naturally abundant in many foods, majority of the population (this may include you) has been seen to be deficient in folic acid. Folic acid supplementation is encouraged for those who are possibly folic acid deficient and those who have increased need of it, such as in the case of pregnant women.
Folic acid has also been used as medication for treating conditions such as megaloblastic anemia, depression, heart conditions, and so on. However, before deciding that you need to take folic acid supplements yourself to counter any of these conditions, it is always best that you see your doctor beforehand.
how much folic acid does our body need? The recommended dietary allowance for regular adults is at 400 mcg/day. About 600 mcg/day is needed for pregnant women and those who are planning pregnancy. For folic acid deficients, dosage recommendations can vary from 400 mcg to 1000 mcg, the amount of which depends on the severity of the deficiency or the health condition.
The side effects of folic acid are not very common. Some people have reported experiencing mild side effects which usually occur with relatively large doses of folic acid supplements. These side effects include nausea, insomnia, decreased appetite, flatulence, abdominal distension, difficulty concentrating and some bitter taste in the tongue. If you experience any of these, it will be a good idea to inform your doctor about it, but you do not necessarily need to discontinue taking it.
It has been said that taking too much folic acid can lead to B-12 deficiency masking that can possible lead to irreversible damage. Also, overdose can be quite dangerous to epileptics as they have been seen to cause seizures. Allergic reactions have also been reported in a few cases.
However, generally speaking, there is no report of excess folic acid toxicity in men and women. In fact, folic acid intake of up to 20 grams per day reportedly does not cause any dangerous side effects. But this does not mean that you can take as much of it anytime as you want. Seek your doctor's advice and follow the prescribed dose.
The benefits of folic acid certainly outweigh its possible side effects. Thus, you can safely say that folic acid can bring your body much more benefit than harm. If you are looking into folic acid supplements, we suggest you to try Xtend-Life Natural Products' Total Balance. It contains folic acid combined with vitamins B9 and B12 to catalyse absorption, along with minerals and herbs that enhance the functions of this essential vitamin.