Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid- What’s the Connection?
Vitamin B12 and folic acid are both B vitamins that are essential for many important biochemical reactions in the body. Oftentimes, vitamin B12 and folic acid work together in a symbiotic relationship to supply energy and prevent nerve damage resulting from vitamin deficiencies. So, how do you know if you’re getting enough vitamin B12 and folic acid? Here are some clues…
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and folic essential are both instrumental in regulating healthy red blood cell production. Likewise, when vitamin B12 and folic acid levels plummet, the result is a decline in red blood cells, which in turn leads to reduced levels of oxygen in the body. Symptoms of vitamin B12 and folic acid anemia may include fatigue, disorientation, and muscle weakness resulting from severe oxygen depletion.
Causes of vitamin B12 and folic acid anemia include malnutrition, autoimmune disorder, or damage to the digestive system.
Treatment: Always eat plenty of foods that are rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid, including fortified cereals, milk, meat, fish, and grain products. Alternatively, if you are unable to digest vitamin B12 from food sources, then it is crucial to supplement with both folic acid and vitamin B12 each day.
Vitamin B12 deficiency and folate
Sometimes, the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia) are masked by supplementation of folate. Large doses of folic acid may cure pernicious anemia by restoring red blood cells, without reversing the symptoms of nerve damage that also occur with vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. Worse, scientists believe that high levels of folic acid in the blood may also worsen cognitive impairments associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, such as memory loss, attention disorders, and confusion.
Treatment: In order to detect vitamin B12 deficiency when it occurs, doctors recommend taking no more than 1,000mcg of folic acid each day.
Vitamin B12 and folic acid are both instrumental in lowering levels of homocysteine, a hormone linked with increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Several studies focusing on patients of heart disease and stroke found positive results with supplementation of folic acid and vitamin B12 in lowering homocysteine levels.
Treatment: While vitamin B12 and folic acid are not known to prevent heart attack or stroke, there are numerous cardiovascular health benefits associated with vitamin supplementation, including reduced levels of homocysteine, DNA synthesis, increased energy, and overall feelings of wellness that contribute to stress management.
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