Losing weight is a difficult thing for most people who want to get in shape. After all, checking your weight is not just for your health, but it also covers various aspects like your appearance, confidence levels and self esteem. So when it comes to losing weight, people are ready to try anything from home remedies to surgical methods. Folic acid is one thing that has come up recently and is still under many controversies.
Folic acid is a member of Vitamin B. More specifically, vitamin B9 is known as Folic Acid. Folic Acid in its most natural form is known as Folate. Folic acid is water soluble and is vital for the metabolic functions of the body. Birth defects in babies, such as the spine and brain, can be prevented if the pregnant woman takes a sufficient amount of folic acid before and during pregnancy.
Functions of Folic Acid:
Below are some vital functions of folic acid, which automatically reveals its importance in our body.
- Vitamin B9 works with vitamin C & vitamin B12 , which help break down, absorb and create new proteins in the body.
- It is essential for improved body cell function and for tissue growth.
- It develops new red blood cells and is essential for the synthesis and repair of DNA.
- It is essential for the development of the neural tube in pregnancy, which prevents malformations in the baby.
- Stabilizes blood pressure and prevents spills.
- It controls the level of homocysteine, the main ingredient for a heart attack.
- It is good for skin and hair health.
- It is good for mental health and memory, thus warding off Alzheimer’s disease.
- It promotes fertilization and increases the amount of breast milk.
- Prevents all symptoms of aging and disorders such as sleep problems, hearing loss, osteoporosis and nerve pain.
- It works as an antidepressant.
- It is good for diabetics as it controls insulin levels.
Sources of Folic Acid
Rather than taking the supplements, it is good to know that foods are high in folic acid and consume them in the most natural way possible. Some of the sources rich in folic acid are green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, broccoli, Greek hay, green peas and beans, bread, yeast, fish, mushrooms, poultry and fruits like oranges, pineapple, banana, melon, grape, etc. In case of extreme deficiency, however, it is better to take supplements.
Folic acid deficiency leads to anemic conditions. This reduces the ability to carry oxygen, often leading to shortness of breath. You may also experience fatigue and weakness during a folic acid deficiency. In such cases and cases of pregnancy, an external supplement of folic acid is usually advised. It is important to realize that the recommended amount of folic acid is different for children and adults. The recommended amount for children is between 15 and 300 mcg and for adults it is 400 mcg daily. Pregnant and breastfeeding women require 600 mcg and 500 mcg respectively.
Under no circumstances should you prescribe a folic acid supplement yourself. Always consult a doctor before taking these supplements, since they are in a better position to analyze and advise the right amount of supplements.
How Does Folic Acid Help You Lose Weight?
Folic acid alone may not be directly responsible for weight loss, but due to some of its essential functions, it can help you lose weight to a point. Let’s take a look at these functions.
- It increases the metabolic rate of the body. The improved metabolism helps burn extra calories faster.
- In case of reduced food consumption, glucose levels drop, and energy too. In such a case, the body searches for reserves or fats to produce the necessary energy. However, fats can not be easily converted into energy like carbohydrates. Folic acid helps break down fats in oily acids and glycerol, which can easily be converted into energy. Thus, the process of fat accumulation slows down.
So while we discuss weight loss with folic acid, we now know that folic acid is just a nutrient or essential supplement needed by the body. It can help in weight loss only to a certain extent, but it may not be entirely responsible for weight reduction.
Also, it’s important to remember that an extra dose of folic acid will not help you lose weight. The reason for this is that the body only absorbs the required amount of folic acid and anything beyond that amount is eliminated from the body. Thus, it is always best to consult a doctor before taking a supplement. The doctor will check for deficiency levels if any, and then suggest the relevant supplements accordingly.