More about folic acid
Health starts with the individual cells of our body. If our cells are healthy so are we. Healthy cells, in turn, depend on the continued, faultless replication of our DNA. DNA can be seriously damaged through attacks by free radicals so an adequate antioxidant status is essential to cell health. However, it is becoming clear that antioxidants alone are not enough to protect our DNA; more and more research points to the B vitamin folic acid as being equally or perhaps even more important in ensuring proper DNA replication.
It is not surprising that a folic acid deficiency has been implicated in a wide variety of disorders from Alzheimer's disease to atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis, cervical and colon cancer, depression, dementia, cleft lip and palate, hearing loss, and of course, neural tube defects.
Folic acid (folinic acid, folacin, pteroylglutamic acid) is essential for the synthesis of adenine and thymine, two of the four nucleic acids that make up our genes, DNA and chromosomes. It is also required for the proper metabolism of the essential amino acid methionine that is found primarily in animal proteins. A folic acid deficiency has been clearly linked to an elevated level of homocysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid. High homocysteine levels, in turn, have been linked to cardiovascular disease and a host of other undesirable conditions.
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