Folic acid Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms and Consequences

Published At: 05 January 2020 , 10:55 AM

Folic acid deficiency

Vitamin B9, or folic acid, plays a vital role in the process of cell division of the human body. It found in large quantities in leafy vegetables, which is why it got this name (from lat. Folium - leaf). Folic acid is also present in meat, liver, kidneys, egg yolk, cheese, honey, legumes, buckwheat and oatmeal, peanuts, bran bread, caviar, sunflower seed, tomatoes. However, this substance is destroyed by 90% during heat treatment.

A deficiency of folic acid encountered by 67–77% of women, including in Russia. This is due both to its insufficient intake in the body, a violation of absorption processes, and an increased need for vitamin B9.

The functions of folic acid in the body

The relevance of the problem of vitamin B9 deficiency is due to its extreme importance for healthy human life. Among the functions of folic acid, the following are distinguished:

  1. participates in hematopoiesis, is responsible for the level of hemoglobin;
  2. provides a healthy metabolism of fats and carbohydrates;
  3. stimulates the production of serotonin and other "hormones of happiness";
  4. improves the digestive system;
  5. participates in the synthesis of iron;
  6. promotes cell growth and renewal, stimulates tissue regeneration.

Causes of Folic Acid Deficiency

Predisposing factors for vitamin B9 deficiency are:

  1. inadequate food intake;
  2. gastrointestinal tract diseases, dysbiosis, parasitic infections;
  3. enzymatic disorders;
  4. increased need for vitamin B9;
  5. chronic alcoholism;
  6. the use of certain drugs.

The prerequisites for the lack of folic acid in the body may be genetic disorders. To detect hereditary causes, and analysis of genetic polymorphisms that are associated with folate cycle disorders (MTHFR, MTRR, MTR) can be carried out.

The study of the MTHFR gene carried out in the following tests:

  1. panel "Neurodegenerative diseases";
  2. Hereditary Epilepsy panel
  3. analysis of polymorphisms in the folate cycle genes;
  4. clinical sequencing of exome;
  5. Pregnancy Complications panel
  6. Folate Cycle panel
  7. homocystinuria.

Symptoms of Folic Acid Deficiency

A lack of vitamin B9 manifests itself in such signs:

  1. fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite (at the initial stage);
  2. megaloblastic anemia;
  3. delayed sexual development in girls, early menopause in women;
  4. in pregnant women - a fetal neural tube defect, heart defects, cleft lip, split palate, the threat of miscarriage, stillbirth, fetal growth retardation;
  5. in nursing mothers - depression, weakness, apathy, insufficient milk, folic acid deficiency in the baby's body;
  6. atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke in older people;
  7. lethargy, impaired cognitive function, and mental disorders.

Consequences of Folic Acid Deficiency

An insufficient amount of vitamin B9 leads to a decrease in the amount of iron in the body, disorders of the musculoskeletal system, male infertility, premature menopause in women, and delayed sexual development in adolescentsFolic acid deficiency causes mental disorders (depression, apathy, phobias), impaired functioning of the brain and nervous system as a whole.