Folic Acid & Vitamin B12
B vitamins are essential to the body, being that it supports bodily functions such as aiding in the release of energy from carbohydrates, fat, and protein. B vitamins are all co-dependent on one another, and the deficiency of a single B vitamin can upset the balance and functioning of organ systems in the body.
Folic acid is part of the B complex vitamins and is found in green leafy vegetables, which the American diet typically lacks. Basically, folic acid is involved with protecting our cells and chromosomes, in addition to protecting our system against intestinal parasites and food poisoning. It also helps with cell growth, the utilization of sugar and amino acids, and according to the FDA, it can actually prevent Spina Bifida. Aside from this, folic acid also helps promote healthier skin, as well as aids in converting Vitamin B12 to its coenzyme form.
Folic Acid Deficiency
Folic acid deficiency is caused by taking certain medications such as aspirin, barbiturates, choline magnesium and salisylates, corticosteroids, NSAIDS, oral contraceptives, primidone, ranitidine (Tritec), etc.
Deficiency in folic acid can result in impaired cell division and protein synthesis, which can lead to anemia and a decreased function of the gastrointestinal tract. On top of this, deficiency in folic acid can also lead to cervical dysplasia, elevated homocysteine, headaches, fatigue, hair loss, anorexia, insomnia, diarrhea, nausea, increased infections, and birth defects, if one is pregnant.
Meanwhile, deficiency of Vitamin B12 will cause a difficulty in the regeneration of the myelin sheath that covers the nerve cells in the body.
Vitamin B12 & Folic Acid
Folic acid is useless without Vitamin B12. Folic acid should always be taken with Vitamin B12 for optimal function and absorption by the body, working together to execute metabolic functions such as amino acid conversion and the methylation of choline, methionine, serine, histidine, & nicotinamide.
Studies have shown that folic acid taken with Vitamin B12 can help with cardiovascular diseases. This is because folic acid and vitamin B12 can lower the damaging levels of homocysteine, which are linked to certain cardiovascular diseases in the body. People with high levels of homocysteine are more prone to stroke, heart attack, and other heart diseases.
According to Dr. Jeffrey A. Tice, UCSF assistant adjunct professor of medicine, “The evidence for the beneficial effects of vitamins B12 and folic acid is much stronger than for garlic, vitamin E, and other dietary supplements promoted for heart disease prevention. "
“For most people, especially those with heart disease, taking a folic acid and vitamin B12 supplement is projected not only to be safe and save lives, but also to save money because it prevents heart disease and the costs associated with expensive medical treatments and procedures. " This is according to Dr. Lee Goldman, professor and chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine. He also adds that an estimated 24 billion dollars in the U. S. could be saved between the years 2001-2011 by simply treating patients who have heart disease folic acid and vitamin B12.
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