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Folic Acid

Folic acid is a water-soluble B complex vitamin that is required for animal metabolism. Sometimes alternatively known as vitamin B9, the substance can be found in a wide variety of food items, such as green, leafy vegetables, brewer’s yeast, soybeans, wheat, and liver.

View a second and third image of Folic Acid

Folic acid was initially isolated from spinach leaves, an event that resulted in its common name, which is derived from the Latin word folium, meaning “leaf.” The vitamin was first produced synthetically in 1945, and since that time has been included in a wide array of supplements and many fortified foods, such as cereals. These items have played an important role in ensuring that individuals regularly consume the recommended dietary allowance of folic acid, which is 400 micrograms for adults. In the body, the vitamin functions in such a way that promotes normal red blood cell formation, aids in the maintenance of the central nervous system, and promotes normal growth and development.

Folic acid deficiency is closely associated with the development of anemia. The condition is often caused by inadequate consumption of folic-acid containing foods, but may also result from cirrhosis of the liver or systemic malabsorption. Symptoms of the deficiency are typically the same as occur with other types of anemia, frequently encompassing redness and cracking of the skin around the mouth, soreness of the tongue, diarrhea, and stomach and intestinal ulcers. Abrupt improvement generally occurs when folic acid is administered orally to sufferers of the vitamin deficiency, a treatment that also results in dramatic improvement to those afflicted with tropical spruce disease.


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