Folate (vitamin B-9) is essential for red blood cell formation in the bone marrow. According to nutritionists, folate converts carbohydrates into energy and also produces DNA and RNA. They also advised that adequate folate intake becomes more crucial during early pregnancy to minimize the risks of birth defects. Green, leafy vegetables such as cabbage, spinach and broccoli are excellent sources of folate. Fruits including oranges, lemons, bananas, melons and strawberries are also considered as good sources of folate.
According to medical experts, the synthetic form of folate is folic acid, which is found in many fortified foods such as cereals and pastas.
Recently, nutrition specialist Dr Uma Naidoo took to Instagram to share a post highlighting the importance of folate for the human body. According to her, folate is an essential nutrient and can only be received from food.
Through the Instagram post, she informed everyone that folate deficiency is linked to depression, memory, chronic fatigue, bipolar and schizophrenia.
“Folate helps to make neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine, which stabilize and increase your mood. Thus, when in a deficit, there are often mental health issues,” Dr Naidoo, the director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), US said.
Dr Naidoo informed how several studies have highlighted that “depression is the most common symptom in patients with folate deficiency.” She said, “higher one’s folate level, the lower one’s level of depression.”
Fatigue, growth problems, tongue swelling, mouth scores are among some of the common symptoms of folate deficiency.
According to the national institutes of health office of dietary supplements of US, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of folate for the different age groups is as follows:
- 0 to 6 months: 65 mcg
- 7 to 12 months: 80 mcg
- 1 to 3 years: 150 mcg
- 4 to 8 years: 200 mcg
- 9 to 13 years: 300 mcg
- Over 14 years: 400 mcg
- during pregnancy: 600 mcg
- during lactation: 500 mcg