Folic acid (folacin, folate) may help to address the following conditions:
acne
Folic acid deficiency is associated with acne, fatigue, a sore tongue, insomnia, irritability - and a host of cognitive problems up to and including dementia. Dr. Andrew Weil estimates that up to 90% of the U.S. population takes in less than the DRI of 400 mcg of folic acid, which some alternative physicians believe should be raised to 4 mg daily.
gray hair
When used together with PABA and pantothenic acid, folic acid may help to postpone graying hair.
alcoholism
Alcohol consumption depletes stores of folic acid. Folic acid supplementation may be useful in treatment of alcohol withdrawal.
growing pains
While vitamin E is the treatment of choice for growing pains, folic acid may help bring relief in a small number of cases where vitamin E does not.
hair loss
Thinning hair in women who are pregnant or using birth control pills is likely caused by a B-vitamin deficiency resulting from increased need for the vitamins. B-complex supplements, particularly folate and B6, should reverse the hair loss.
Alzheimer's disease
High homocysteine levels are associated with Alzheimer's disease. Folic acid helps lower homocysteine.
anemia
Folic acid is necessary to the formation of red blood cells. Deficiency results in folic acid anemia, characterized by low hemoglobin and abnormally large blood cells.
arteriosclerosis
Folic acid helps to prevent blood vessel disease.
arthritis
A combination of folic acid and vitamin B12 can provide pain relief equal to that of aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
brain fog
Maintaining adequate levels of folic acid is important to brain health. Folic acid deficiency contributes to senile dementia, while supplementation greatly improves mental processes of some seniors.
canker sore
Canker sores are often associated with anemia and related nutritional deficiencies, and can often be reduced or eliminated using folate, which aids in red blood cell formation.
cardiovascular disease
Folic acid is an essential cofactor in the conversion of heart-damaging homocysteine to methionine.
cervical dysplasia
Population studies are consistent in showing the protective effect of folic acid on development of cervical dysplasia, the precancerous condition associated with cervical cancer. In one study, 10 mg daily eliminated the precancerous growths within two months. (This is many times the RDA of 400 mcg.) Dr. Robert C. Atkins treated cervical dysplasia patients with 30-80 mg of folic acid per day, in combination with vitamins A, C, and B12.
dental problems
Used as a mouthwash, folic acid helps to fight periodontal disease.
periodontal disease
Used as a mouthwash, folic acid helps to fight periodontal disease.
depression
Adults diagnosed with depressive disorders tend to have lower-than-average blood folate levels, and treatment with folic acid is associated with improved outcome for such patients. Anti-depressant drugs tend not to be effective for those with low folate levels.
fatigue
Fatigue is often the first sign of folic acid deficiency, and an estimated 10% of the U.S. population is deficient in folic acid by current standards - which some alternative health practitioners believe is far too low. Folic acid supplements should always be taken with other B-complex vitamins -- particularly vitamin B12.
pregnancy
Low intake of folic acid can result in serious neural tube birth defects such as anencephaly (where a portion of the brain is missing) and spina bifida. An estimated 75% of neural tube birth defects could be avoided if pregnant women were to supplement daily with 4000 g of folic acid, and the Center for Disease Control recommends this amount for women who have previously given birth to a child with neural tube defects. Unfortunately, the current RDA of folic acid for pregnant women of 600 g remains well below that required to protect many newborns from this tragedy. Low folic acid levels in pregnancy are also associated with a higher-than-average incidence of schizophrenia in offspring.
cancer
Low folic acid is associated with cancers of the cervix, throat, lung and colon. Conversely, high folic acid levels reduce colon cancer risk by 40-70%. Treatment with large doses of the vitamin has reportedly reversed precancers in the cervix, throat and lung.
immune disorders
Low folic acid is associated with lowered immunity.
digestive disorders
Folic acid deficiency is associated with malabsorption syndromes and damage to the digestive tract. Robert C. Atkins, M.D. reported a success rate of 85% using 40-60 mg of folic acid combined with pantethine to treat patients with Crohn's disease .
nervous irritability
Folic acid deficiency can result in emotional irritability and gastrointestinal upset.
nervous system disorders
Low levels of folic acid can result in peripheral neuropathy, which sometimes manifests itself as "restless leg syndrome."
osteoarthritis
A combination of folic acid and vitamin B12 can provide pain relief equal to that of aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
psoriasis
Folic acid deficiency is common in those with psoriasis. In one study, patients with long-standing psoriasis showed marked improvement after 3-6 months of treatment with 80 mg daily of folic acid divided into four doses. Interestingly, patients who have previously received methotrexate treatment will have adverse reactions to subsequent treatment with folic acid.
schizophrenia
Harvard University researchers confirmed a link between low folic acid in pregnancy and a higher-than-average risk of later development of schizophrenia in offspring. The researchers' review suggests that low folate and high homocysteine levels during pregnancy may increase risk for a genetic mutation associated with the disease. Folic acid deficiencies are common among those suffering from schizophrenia, depression and mania.
tongue symptoms
Folic acid deficiency can result in the condition known as "geographic tongue" or a less dramatic presentation of deep grooves or fissures. Both conditions can often be reversed by supplementing for a few months with both folic acid and vitamin B12 (preferably as part of a B-complex supplement).
leukemia
Folic acid deficiency is a risk factor for both adult and childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Deficiency impairs DNA repair, leading to chromosome breaks associated with the disease.
geographic tongue
Folic acid deficiency can result in the condition known as "geographic tongue" or a less dramatic presentation of deep grooves or fissures. Both conditions can often be reversed by supplementing for a few months with both folic acid and vitamin B12 (preferably as part of a B-complex supplement).
 

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