The most common causes of Folate deficiency is not having a healthy lifestyle and not eating a healthy, balanced diet. A healthy diet includes foods naturally contain folate or folic acid. People who drink large amount of alcohol , they don’t get enough folate requirement to the body. Other causes of folate deficiency can include many diseases like, Digestive system diseases: when there is a Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, the digestive system doesn’t absorb folic acid properly. Hemolytic anemia: It is one of the blood disorder that is occurred when your red blood cells are destroyed and can’t be replaced fast enough. When you over cook the vegetables and fruits, the heat can destroy the naturally occurring folate in your produce. It is easily leaches into cooking water, especially when the food is submerged in the water. As much as 50% to 90% of food folate may be destroyed during food processing, storage and preparation.
The common risk factors of folate deficiency include: • Eating overcooked foods • Consuming a vitamin poor diet • Heavy alcohol abuse • Pregnancy • Being of childbearing age • Malabsorption syndromes such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disesae • Certain medications • Medical conditions, such as sickle cell disease In pregnancy , the risk factors include spina bifida and anencephaly Spina bifida: it is a condition that occurs when a baby’s spinal cord or brain don’t fully develop in the womb. Babies born with spina bifida requires surgery, and often have paralysis and other physical disabilities Anencephaly: it is a condition where baby’s brain and skull don’t develop completely in womb. In this condition baby’s are stillborn or die shortly after birth.
Folate deficiency also affects the intestinal epithelium, where impaired DNA synthesis causes megaloblastosis of enterocytes. Folate deficiency impairs DNA and RNA synthesis. Thus, rapidly dividing cells are affected quickly by folate deficiency. When red blood cells cannot divide, the result is large and immature erthrocytes(i.e., megaloblastic macrocytic anemia) This is manifested clinically as malabsorption and diarrhea and is a contributor to the clinical picture of tropical sprue. Severely anemic individuals show weakness, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, irritability, headache, palpitations and shortness of breath. Nuclear hypersegmentation of circulating polymorphonuclear leucocytes appears within about two months of deprivation of the Vitamin. This is followed by megaloblastic anemia, and then general weakness, depression and polyneuropathy. In pregnant women, the deficiency can lead to birth defects or spontaneous abortion and also Neural Tube Defects( NTD). Neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly are some of the most common birt defects in United States , they affect approximately 1 in every 1000 pregnancies . In general Weakness, nausea, loss of appetite, lethargy, shortness of breath, fatigue, glossitis, megaloblastic anemia, mouth sores, gray hair, swollen tongue.
Medical history and Symptoms present in the body can be diagnosed. The folate deficiency can be diagnosed through a blood test. It measures the amount of folate in blood. A low level of folate indicates a folate deficiency.
A balanced diet includes fruits and vegetables and other foods that contain folate or are enriched with folic acid can be included in daily diet. The folate deficiency can be treated with folic acid supplements. Most of the adults need 400mcg of folic acid in each day. During pregnancy, the RDA is increased to 600mcg/day to meet the elevated needs for fetal growth. A lactating mother needs 500mcg/ day. For infants, 65mcg/day during first 6 months and 80mcg/day from the ages of 7 to 12 months.
The best way to prevent the folate deficiency is to eat healthy. The diet that includes fruits and vegetables which contains folate or folic acid. The food that contain folate or folic acid are Green leafy vegetables, orange juice, dried beans, peas, legumes, chicken liver, sea food, eggs and dairy. The folic acid can be found in enriched or fortified in bread , flour, pasta, rice, cereal..
Do's & Don’t's
|Consume folate-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits, and fortified grains.
|Avoid excessive alcohol consumption as it can interfere with folate absorption.
|Take folate supplements as prescribed by a healthcare professional.
|Don't rely solely on supplements without considering dietary sources of folate.
|Follow a balanced diet with a variety of nutrients to support overall health.
|Don't consume raw eggs as they contain a protein that can interfere with folate absorption.
|Cook foods at low temperatures to preserve folate content.
|Avoid overcooking or prolonged heating of folate-rich foods, which can reduce their folate content.
|Discuss medication interactions with a healthcare provider as certain medications can interfere with folate absorption.
|Don't self-diagnose folate deficiency; seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and treatment.
|Monitor and manage any underlying health conditions that may contribute to folate deficiency.
|Don't ignore symptoms of folate deficiency such as weakness, fatigue, or cognitive issues; consult a healthcare professional.
If you suspect you or someone else is experiencing Folate deficiency, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention by calling emergency services or consult with a Nutritionist.