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Posts Tagged ‘folic acid’

Why Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid just go together

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 and folic acid are both essential water-soluble B vitamins that your body needs to prevent anemia, provide energy and support the nervous system. For maximum benefits, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance of vitamin B12 and folic acid.

Why Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid just go together

Vitamin B12 and folic acid anemia

Vitamin B12 and folic acid work together to regulate production of healthy red blood cells needed to spread oxygen throughout your body. When vitamin B12 and folic acid levels fall, you may notice symptoms of anemia indicating a need for more oxygen and B vitamins.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and low folic acid include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Muscle spasms
  • Vision problems

Isolated vitamin B12 deficiency

It’s important not to overdo it with folic acid supplements.

  • If you were to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia), then it may not appear on a blood test when folic acid levels are high, as red blood cell production will appear normal.
  • Nerve damage from vitamin B12 deficiency can continue, even with normal levels of folic acid.
  • There is a belief among scientists that overconsumption of folic acid may worsen attention and memory disorders that occur with vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Long term, pernicious anemia can result in severe handicaps caused by irreversible nerve damage.

If you are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, then it’s important to have your B12 levels and folic acid levels checked regularly.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- How Long does it Take?

Risk factors for pernicious anemia are:

  • Family history for pernicious anemia
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Old age
  • Vegan dieting
  • Gastritis
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Ilium removal
  • Medications for acid reflux or diabetes

Treatment

The only way to treat vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency is to replenish your levels of these important B vitamins until your achieve a normal amount. You may be required to continue taking vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements in order to prevent developing anemia again.

In addition to taking vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements, try to include more foods containing B vitamins in your diet, such as beef, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, and grain products fortified with folic acid.

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Like this? Read more:

Why do Diabetics get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

I Eat Healthy…So How did I Get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Sources:

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12- Health Professional Fact Sheet

Anaemia, vitamin B12 or folate deficiency

Three of the B Vitamins: Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12

Image courtesy of badmanproduction/freedigitalphotos


Folic Acid and B12: Your Nerves Need Both to Thrive

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

 

 

Folic acid (vitamin B-6), the synthetic version of folate, has been instrumental in reducing the number of neural tube birth defects, ever since the US government  mandated that all breads and other grain products be infused with this essential B vitamin; pregnant women are strongly advised to include folate supplementation in their diet.

But folic acid alone is ineffective in nourishing the nervous system; for that, it requires help from vitamin B12.

Folic acid + B12 = healthy nerves

A study found that both folic acid and vitamin B12, taken together, produced the most beneficial results in regards to nerve function.

  • A Tufts University study examined 1,459 individuals over the age of 60.
  • 25% had vitamin B12 deficiency, and likewise scored poorly on mental acuity testing.
  • Of the participants who has B12 deficiency, the ones who also had folic acid deficiency turned out the worst scores- 5 times below the average for healthy individuals of that age.
  • The elderly are particularly at risk because of their inability to utilize B12 vitamins naturally.
  • According to the Journal of American Medical Association, folic acid and vitamin B12 taken together may be used to treat heart disease and reduce the number of related deaths in the US.
  • Clinical research has shown that folic acid is effective for reducing homocysteine levels, a precursor to heart disease, but that the addition of vitamin B12 accounts for an extra 7% success rate.

Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in meat, fish, dairy and egg products. Vegans and vegetarians must rely on B12 supplements in order to avoid B12 deficiency.

Folic acid is found in all cereals, baked goods and other grain products, ever since the US government ruled back in 1998 that it be included in order to prevent birth defects.

Sources:

Science Daily, the Journal of American Medical Association, Oprah.com

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