Folic acid deficiency anemia
Folic acid deficiency anemia, an abnormally low level of folic acid (one of the B vitamins), results in anemia characterized by red blood cells that are large in size but few in number, which can cause a type of anemia known as megaloblastic (pernicious) anemia. Folic acid is a B vitamin required for the production of normal red blood cells. Your body needs red blood cells to carry oxygen. If you have don't have enough red blood cells, you have anemia, which can make you feel weak and tired. So it’s important that you get enough folic acid every day.
Folic acid is needed for the orderly production of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in all tissue cells and is a component of three of the four DNA bases (thymine, adenine, guanine and cytosine). In bone marrow, it is required for the normal production of the red blood cells and for RNA synthesis. Folic acid circulates through and is stored in the liver and a deficiency is almost always because of insufficient amounts in the diet.
Absorption of folic acid occurs primarily in the upper small intestine and does not depend on intrinsic factor as vitamin B12 does. A deficiency of folic acid is more common than a cobalamin (B12) deficiency. Folic acid stores are also depleted more rapidly than cobalamin stores and, without proper dietary intake, a megaloblastic anemia will develop.
A healthy adult needs at least 4 mg of folic acid every day, and at least double during pregnancy, and increase by 50% when a woman is breast-feeding. The average diet, high in fats, sugar, and white flour, provides about 2 mg of folic acid, approximately the amount needed to maintain tissue stores of the substance for six to nine months before a deficiency develops. Most of the folic acid in foods occurs as folate. Folate is only about pne-half as available for the body to use as is the folic acid in pills and supplements. Folate also is easily destroyed by sunlight, overcooking, or the storing of foods at room temperature for an extended period of time.
Which food in rich folate include:
- orange juice
- romaine lettuce
- wheat germ
- soy beans
- green, leafy vegetables
- wheat germ
- chick peas