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FOLIC ACID Folic acid is the most common term for water-soluble B-vitamin that can be found naturally as well as in vitamin pills Found naturally folic acid is actually referred to as folate while folic acid refers to the synthetic form of the vitamin For reasons of simplification this paper will use the two terms interchangeably The functions of folic acid in our diet are mostly for prevention Probably the most commonly known function of folic acid is in the prevention of neural tube diseases Research has shown that the increased intake of folic acid can decrease the risk for such birth defects as spina bifida which affects the fetuss brain and spine With an increased intake of folic acid by the mother it is estimated the 70 of some types of serious birth defects can be prevented The recommended daily allowance of folic acid is 4 mg per day Anyone who follows the recommended daily food pyramid that includes 3-5 servings of vegetables 2-4 servings of fruit and 6-11 servings of grains daily will easily get the 4 to 5 mg of folic acid and would be within safe limits The US Public Health service strongly suggests that all women thinking of becoming pregnant or who are pregnant should either follow this regimen or supplement their diet with vitamin pills As indicated above folic acid can be found naturally in many common foods Dark leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach as well as asparagus some nuts and seeds dried beans wheat germ yeast egg yolk most berries and some other fruits and fruit juices are all natural sources of folic acid Other than neural tube defects it has been discovered that a folate deficiency can in part contribute to the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome Other ailments associated with folate deficiencies include an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimers disease Research also suggests that low folate levels are
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