The Surprisingly Beneficial Benefits Of Folate
Folate, sometimes referred to as vitamin B9, is a water soluble vitamin belonging to the B vitamin family and is responsible for the growth of healthy cells. This aspect of folate makes it an incredible nutrient for many beneficial health outcomes.
The folic acid vitamin is the form of the vitamin that is used in food fortification. The folate vitamin is the naturally occurring form of the vitamin and is converted in the digestive system to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).
Folic acid supplements are most notably known for their prevention of neural tube defects. Fortification became mandatory in 1998 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to further prevent neural tube defects due to folate deficiencies in expecting mothers. However, folate’s benefits do not end with preventing neural tube defects, there are seven primary benefits to folate supplementation.
The benefits of folate
Homocysteine is an amino acid that is commonly consumed through meat. Unfortunately, this homocysteine is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but folate and other B vitamins are a part of homocysteine metabolism, meaning that they can lower these levels, which may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. The risk of stroke and heart attack is also reduced with supplementing with folic acid.
Elevated homocysteine levels may cause cell death of neurons which may cause significant cognitive complications. There is also a correlation between low folate levels and dementia, Alzheimer’s, and general poor cognitive function.
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopment disorder with no specific known cause. However, genetic and environmental factors play a possible role in its development. Studies are beginning to show that supplementing with folic acid around the time of conception may reduce the development of autism.
Some studies have shown low folate have been associated with depression. Interestingly, low folate has also been linked to a poor response to antidepressant medications. This may be due to folate being common in “healthy” foods such as broccoli, avocado, spinach, and asparagus to name a few. Poor diets are commonly associated with depression, which may be why low folate and depression are linked.
Birth Defect Prevention
Neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, and preterm birth along with many other congenital anomalies have seen drastic decrease with folic acid supplementation. Cardiac cells rely heavily on folate for their proper development.
Hair, Skin, Nails
Biotin is the most commonly thought of supplement when it comes to hair, skin, and nails beauty supplements. Some lesser known hair, skin, and nails vitamins are vitamin B1, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D. Because folic acid is associated with healthy cell growth hair supplement with folate may be the best hair skin and nails vitamins. Biotin vitamins are much the same when it comes to hair and nails vitamins. A mixture of the two is sure to produce the best hair and nails results.
Biotin is not stored in the body, so you can eventually become low in biotin if there isn't enough in your diet
Folate and food
Folic acid is a natural part of most wheat and corn products but through processing it is often removed. However, manufacturers realize the importance of this nutrient and began adding it back in, along with other B vitamins and nutrients, in a process called enrichment. It is also added to breakfast cereals and corn based flours through fortification. This is slightly like enrichment except that fortification is adding a nutrient to a food that was not already there naturally and enrichment is adding a nutrient to a food that had previously been removed during processing. Either way, having folate added back to the food we eat has improved health outcomes, especially for children developing in utero.
There are many different forms of anemia, not just anemia related to iron. Folate deficiency leads to megaloblastic anemia. This form of anemia causes the red blood cells to become enlarged, immature, and in short supply. This results in fatigue, weakness, headache, irritability, trouble concentrating, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations all due blood cells not carrying enough oxygen the tissues of the body. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be mistakenly masked if too much folate is consumed above the tolerable upper limit.
Folate in Food
Women of childbearing years, and really any adult, should be getting 400mcg of folate each day. This can be done easily through a diet that is varied well and contains many foods that are rich in folate. Dark green leafy vegetables are a great source of folate and contribute to a balanced healthy diet. Other foods that are high in folate include legumes, asparagus, eggs, beets, Brussel sprouts, citrus fruits, broccoli, beef liver, nuts and seeds, papaya, bananas, avocado, and wheat germs.
Since many grains are fortified or enriched with folate it is easier than ever to get enough folate through the diet. Just one cup of fortified cooked spaghetti contains 26% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of folate. Even more surprising, half an avocado, which is already giving the body healthy fats, provides 21% RDI. Beef liver, though not a popular food for most, provides 54% of the RDI and half a cup of boiled spinach gives 33%! Just eating these four foods would provide over 100 percent of the amount of folate that is needed each day.
Biotin is important for healthy skin and nails, and it’s great for your eye health, liver and nervous system.
Beauty from within
Codeage beauty Tonic includes a potent blend of beauty boosting biotin, an organic food blend to boost the body's natural production of collagen and whole food vitamins for added hair and nail beauty so you can look and feel at your best.*
Biotin also known as vitamin B7, has many important functions for our bodies. Biotin is water-soluble which means that the body does not store it. This is why you probably heard about many people taking biotin supplements for healthier hair, stronger nails and more youthful skin. Biotin is necessary for the function of several enzymes known as carboxylases. They participate in important metabolic pathways such as the production of glucose and fatty acids. This vitamin is essential for energy metabolism however there is no need to worry, biotin deficiency is quite rare. Additionally, folate is added to Codeage Beauty Tonic for our bodies to make DNA and for our cells to divide. Folate ie essential for women who are pregnant due to its health benefits of making red blood cells and repairing DNA. *
Since biotin helps protect and promote healthy skin, hair and nails, vitamins C & E are also added for protection. You probably know that vitamin C does a lot of good for our bodies and even for the hair. Vitamin C is responsible for the synthesis of collagen in the body which helps to keep the skin looking young and flexible and promotes healthy hair growth and regeneration. Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant which prevents the damage of the hair follicles from free radicals. Vitamin C deficiency can result in hair loss, split ends and general illnesses.
The big picture
Folate is an important nutrient that is not given much of the nutrition spotlight unless you’re a pregnant woman or wanting to get pregnant. However, it is essential for everyone and if a balanced diet with a lot of variety is consumed it can easily be taken in through diet. Taking a multivitamin with folate is an easy way to ensure the body is getting all the folate it needs to function properly and operate of optimal health.