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Folic Acid


Folic acid is available in both oral and injectable forms and is a naturally occurring B vitamin (B9) that is essential for the development of red and white blood cells. Its natural sources are foods like dried beans, lentils, peas, oranges, liver, whole-wheat products, beets, asparagus, broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts. Folic acid deficiency causes megaloblastic anemia. Folic acid comes under several brand and generic names.

Information you should know

Folic acid has been found to reduce the risk of strokes and cancer. This is because DNA synthesis, repair and functioning depends greatly on folate and 200 micrograms or more of folic acid every day is highly effective. 800 micrograms and above has been found to improve short-term memory, mental agility and verbal fluency of the 50 yrs-plus age group.

Folic acid must be prescribed by only a registered health practitioner and must not be taken as a medicine to treat undiagnosed anemia. This is because Folic acid sometimes hides pernicious anemia symptoms resulting in neurological damages.
Folic acid may also require vitamin B12 to be administered during the treatment.

Folic acid is falls under FDA pregnancy category A and is thus a safe medicine for pregnant women or women who are breast feeding and is often given in excess to reduce the risk of folic acid deficiency.

Folic acid does not require any restriction on regular food habits of a person but requires being stored in a cool place away from heat and moisture; in case something needs to be curtailed, the physician shall mention about it. Side effects resulting from Folic acid are very rare but require emergency medical treatment and an immediate stoppage of the medication. The side effects may range from severe allergic reactions to mild nausea, lessened appetite, abdominal dilatation and flatulence, bad or bitter taste that stays in the mouth, sleeplessness and reduced concentration that result due to larger doses taken. This may also reduce the effects of Phenytoin used for preventing seizures.

Directions for taking Folic Acid

Folic acid must be taken exactly as prescribed along with adequate water on a daily basis if not prescribed to be administered as an injectable. In case a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible upon remembering but there should be considerable gap between the current dose and the next scheduled dose. Double doses of this medication may give rise to unwanted symptoms but shall pose
no threat to life.


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