Folic acid is needed for energy production, immune support and formation of red blood cells. ervical dysplasia, which is the forerunner of cervical cancer, and the incidence of fetal neural tube defects, are thought to be connected with a folic acid deficiency. Folic acid deficiency is probably the most common vitamin deficiency in North America. Folic acid is critical to the formation of DNA and is crucial in fetal development in the first few weeks of pregnancy, a time when most women do not realize that they are expecting.
Folic acid is vital to proper cell division and prevents damage to cellular DNA, helping to reduce the risk of colon polyps, colorectal cancer and cervical cancer. Folic acid may also lower homocysteine levels in the blood. High levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Folic acid has a low toxicity. A one-thousand-fold increase in the daily requirement may be consumed with no harmful effects.
Folic Acid (folate)..........................................1 mg
- The drugs cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid), neomycin (Neo-Fradin), and orlistat (Xenical), as well as mineral oil, all interfere with the absorption of vitamin A.
- Using vitamin A at higher dosages in conjunction with synthetic vitamin A derivatives such as isotretinoin (Accutane) and etretinate (Tegison) can result in increased risk of toxicity. Consult a health care practitioner prior to use.
Pregnancy and Nursing: Women of child bearing age should not take more than 5,000 IU of vitamin A daily due to possible risk of birth defects with higher doses of vitamin A, if becoming pregnant is a possibility.
Seniors: No special precautions are known.