Folic acid is an important member of the vitamin B family (it is B9) and has many healthful, protective benefits. Here is a list of some:
- Prevents birth defects, and may also help prevent miscarriage and Downs Syndrome. It is good to take during pregnancy, but more effective to take before becoming pregnant.
- Protects the heart and is recommended for people at risk of heart disease. It contributes to lowering cholesterol and the incidence of plaque in the arteries.
- May help fight Alzheimer’s disease and other age related mental disorders.
- May help alleviate depression.
- Brain health, it may help reduce the risk of stroke.
- Seems to protect against certain cancers, including cervical cancer.
- May reduce tumor growth and risk of colon cancer in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
- May increase sperm count in infertile men.
- Recent studies indicate it may help prevent autism.
Unfortunately, many medications deplete the body of healthy folic acid levels, with possible significant consequences. Folic acid supplementation is recommended for people who take antacids regularly, anti-inflammatories, many blood pressure lowering drugs, cholesterol lowering drugs, some hormone replacement therapy drugs that contain estrogen, and some oral contraceptives. Folic acid is found in some multivitamins and is a good addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle.