The Effect Of Folic Acid On The Middle Of The 1800s

Better Essays
Toward the middle of the 1900s, a compound called folic acid was synthesized to mimic a compound in the pteroylgutamate family, known as Folate. Folate is found naturally in foods such as kale, spinach and other leafy greens, but folic acid does not exist in nature and must be artificially created. This artificial substance had never before been used in the human diet, but in 1998 the Food and Drug Agency legislated that widely consumed products such as breads, cereals, and many other commercial grains be fortified with this compound. The driving force for this legislation came as a result of the wide spread prevalence of neural tube defects, spinabifida and other developmental issues resulting from deficiency. Although Folate is widely…show more content…
Although Folate has been used for 40 years to successfully reduce the risk of neural tube defects and related issues, there are still lingering concerns about its safety such as the masking effect it may have on populations at risk for or already deficient in vitamin B12. The recommended amount of Folate intake based on the RDAs is set at around 400mcg DFE – 600mcg DFE depending on gender and pregnancy status.1 This very level was set in order to achieve a status that prevents deficiency in the general population and neural tube defects in infants, while remaining low enough to avoid the potential masking effect Folate can have upon B12. Folate amounts higher than 5000mcg certainly can alleviate megaloblastic anemia when the presumed cause of anemia is a Folate deficiency.1 However, if Folate is not the underlying deficiency, these high levels can also attract medical attention away from a B12 deficiency, allowing neurological damage to become permanent. These risks extend further into the realm of neurological function due to the role of Folate and B12 as cofactors in the CNS, where high levels of Folate and low levels of B12 could result in reduced Methionine and elevated Homocysteine concentrations. Methionine plays a vital role in numerous methylation reactions throughout the body that are essential to the
Get Access