5 Folic Acid Uses and the Side Effects

Bajaj Finserv Health
April 8th, 2022
7 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Folate deficiency during pregnancy is common in developing nations
  • Benefits of folic acid include prevention of pregnancy complications
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and irritability are some folic acid side effects

A folic acid is a form of water-soluble vitamin B9 mostly used to treat folic acid deficiency and some kinds of anemia. Folic acid uses helps in body make new cells, prevent birth defects, pregnancy complications, and more [1].

Peas, lentils, beans, oranges, and spinach are some foods that are rich in folate. Folic acid is a man-made form of folate that is used in fortified foods and supplements. Your body requires folic acid through your diet as it cannot produce it on its own.

In an Indian study on pregnant women, folate deficiency was detected in 24% of women [2]. Folate deficiency during pregnancy is a matter of concern in developing nations. The deficiency of synthetic folic acid causes symptoms like extreme tiredness, lethargy, headaches, pale skin, and palpitations.

Read on to know the folic acid during pregnancy and the folic acid uses for men and women.

Additional Read: Pregnancy Tests at Home

Folic Acid Uses

Folic acid uses

Here are some folic acid uses you should note.

To treat folate deficiency 

Folic acid tablets benefit us by reducing folate deficiency. Inadequate dietary intake, pregnancy, excessive alcohol, surgery, and malabsorptive diseases are some causes that lead to this deficiency [3]. It can result in side effects such as anemia, birth defects, depression, mental impairment, and weakened immune function.

To prevent birth and pregnancy complications 

Folate and folic acid supplements help prevent birth defects, particularly neural tube defects. So, these are suggested to women of reproductive age. It prevents preeclampsia and other pregnancy-related complications [4]. Folic acid uses is important in the development of the fetus too.

To support brain health 

Low folate levels in your blood are linked with reduced brain function and dementia. In fact, even normal but low levels of folate can lead to an increased risk of cognitive disorders in older adults [5]. It is said that folic acid supplements can help treat Alzheimer’s disease and improve brain function. Research suggests that folic acid may prevent the risk of epilepsy, depression, and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Folic Acid foods

To lower the risk of heart disease 

Having high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, is associated with medical conditions like heart disease and stroke. Having folic acid may contribute to the metabolism of homocysteine and thus reduce the risk of heart disease. Further, folic acid uses may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a factor known to cause heart disease. Moreover, taking folic acid supplements improves blood flow that further improves cardiovascular health.

To promote hair growth 

Folic acid or vitamin B9 is known to improve the health of your nails, skin and hair. It promotes the growth of healthy hair. Besides, it supports the growth of the cells present in the tissues of your nails, hair, and skin. Folate or folic acid also helps in the proper functioning of the red blood cells in your body, which helps in preventing premature greying of hair.

Apart from the above-mentioned folic acid uses and benefits, it also helps in improving blood sugar levels, improves fertility, reduces inflammation, lowers side effects of medications, and helps people with kidney disease.

Folic Acid during pregnancy

Folic acid side effects 

Some of the common folic acid side effects include the following. 

  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloating or gas
  • Skin reactions
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sleeping problems
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of excitement
  • Behavioral changes
  • Unpleasant or bitter taste in the mouth

For a complete list of side effects, get in touch with your general physician. Get immediate medical support if you experience allergic reactions including rash, itching, hives, redness, wheezing, breathing difficulties, and swelling of your face, throat, lips, and tongue. Avoid folic acid if you are allergic to it. Consult with your doctor if you have an infection, are alcoholic, have anemia, or have kidney disease before taking the folic acid tablets.

If you are pregnant or are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe folic acid supplements along with other medications. Sometimes, folic acid may interact with other medications and cause certain side effects or complications. A folic acid dose of more than 1 mg per day may prove unsafe.

Additional Read: Neurological Conditions and Symptoms

The dosage of folic acid depends on your age, medical conditions, and other factors. So, you should consult with your physician for the right dosage. To know more about the folic acid tablets side effects and uses, book online consultation with doctors on Bajaj Finserv Health. This way, you can get the answers to personalized health queries including folic acid 5mg uses and benefits for yourself. Avail Bajaj Finserv Health card and Get Rs. 2,500 Lab & OPD benefit which can be used across pan India.

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