Folic acid: intake rules, dosage, cancer risk
Jul 04, 2018
People know about the benefits of vitamin B9( folic acid) for a long time, but only relatively recently doctors began to actively promote the use of this substance among the population.Folic acid is prescribed during the period of pregnancy planning and bearing of the child, it is included in complex therapy for the treatment of heart diseases, many disputes are being made about the extent to which this vitamin can provoke the development of cancer or it is a retarding factor in the growth of cancer cells.Undoubtedly only one thing - folic acid is needed by the body of every person, but especially important is its reception for women.Table of Contents: Features of Folic Acid How to Take Folic Acid Folic Acid and Pregnancy
Features of Folic Acid
The benefits of vitamins and minerals are known to everyone.Many of us know what calcium and magnesium are, why iron is needed in the body, and what effect vitamins B6, B12, A and C, PP and D. have. Vitamin B9 folic acid, in which the active substance is folate, is left undeservedly forgotten.
Note: folic acid can not be produced by the body itself, and its ability to accumulate in tissues and organs is zero.Even if a person enters into his diet the maximum number of foods with a vitamin B9 content, the body will assimilate less than half the original volume.The main disadvantage of folic acid is that it destroys itself even with a small heat treatment( enough storage of the product in a room with room temperature of air).
Folates are a fundamental component in the process of DNA synthesis and maintenance of its integrity.In addition, it is vitamin B9 that promotes the production by the body of specific enzymes that actively participate in the prevention of malignant tumors.
Folate deficiency in the body was detected in people aged 20-45 years, in pregnant and lactating women.This can lead to the development of megaloblastic anemia( oncology associated with a decrease in DNA synthesis), the birth of children with developmental defects.There are certain clinical signs that indicate a lack of folic acid in the body - fever, often diagnosed inflammatory processes, disorders in the digestive system( diarrhea, nausea, anorexia), hyperpigmentation.
Important: natural folic acid is absorbed much worse than synthetic: taking 0, 6 μg of substance in the form of a medicine is 0, 01 mg of folic acid in its natural form.
How to take folic acid
The National Academy of Sciences published in 1998 a general guide to the use of folic acid. The dosage for this data will be as follows:
- optimal - 400 μg per day per person;
- minimal - 200 mcg per person;
- in pregnancy - 400 mcg;
- during lactation - 600 mcg.
Please note : in any case, the dosage of vitamin B9 is set individually and the above values can only be used for a general understanding of the daily dosage of the drug.There are clear limitations in the daily amount of the substance in question when planning pregnancy and during childbearing / feeding, and when folic acid is used to prevent cancer.
Folic acid and pregnancy
Folic acid is responsible for the synthesis of DNA, it actively participates in cell division, in their recovery.Therefore, the drug in question must be taken and during pregnancy planning, and during the period of gestation, and during breastfeeding.
Folic acid is prescribed for those women who stop taking contraceptives and plan a child.It is necessary to start using the substance in question immediately, as soon as it is decided to conceive and give birth to a child - the importance of the absolute abundance of folic acid in the mother's body on the first days / weeks of pregnancy is difficult to assess.The fact is that at the age of two weeks the embryo is already beginning to form the brain - at this time the woman may not even know about pregnancy.In the early stages of pregnancy, the baby's nervous system is formed - folic acid is necessary for proper cell division and the formation of an absolutely healthy organism.Why do gynecologists prescribe vitamin B9 to women when planning pregnancy?The substance under consideration takes an active part in the hematopoiesis that occurs during the formation of the placenta - with a lack of folic acid, pregnancy can result in miscarriage.
The lack of folic acid in the body of a woman during her pregnancy can lead to the development of birth defects:
- "cleft lip";
- "wolf's mouth";
- neural tube defect;
- violation of the child's mental and intellectual development.
Ignoring folic acid prescriptions from a gynecologist can lead to premature birth, placental abruption, the birth of a dead child, miscarriage - according to scientific research in 75% of cases, this development can be prevented by taking folic acid 2-3 months before the onset of pregnancy.
After birth, it is also not necessary to interrupt the course of taking the substance in question - postpartum depression, apathy, general weakness are a consequence of a lack of folic acid in the body of the mother.In addition, in the absence of additional introduction of folates, the quality of breast milk deteriorates, its quantity decreases, which affects the growth and development of the child.
Dosage of folic acid during pregnancy and lactation
During the planning and pregnancy period, doctors prescribe a woman with folic acid in the amount of 400-600 micrograms per day.During breastfeeding, the body needs a higher dosage - up to 600 micrograms per day.In some cases, women are prescribed a dose of 800 mcg of folic acid per day, but this decision should only be made by a gynecologist on the basis of the results of a woman's body examination. The increased dosage of the substance in question is prescribed with:
- diagnosed in a woman with diabetes mellitus and epilepsy;
- of the existing diseases of an innate character in the genus;
- need to constantly take medications( they make it difficult to absorb folic acid in the body);
- earlier birth of children with a history of folate-dependent diseases.
Important : in what quantities should folic acid be taken to a woman during pregnancy planning and pregnancy and lactation periods, the gynecologist should indicate.It is strictly forbidden to choose a "convenient" dosage on your own.
If a woman is absolutely healthy, then vitamin B9 is prescribed in the form of multivitamin preparations, which are necessary for a woman when planning pregnancy and bearing a child.They are sold in pharmacies and are intended for expectant mothers - "Elevit", "Pregnavit", "Vitrum Prenatal" and others.
In case of detection of the need for an increased dosage of folic acid, women are prescribed drugs with a high content of vitamin B9 - "Folacin", "Apo-Folik".
Please note : to know exactly how many capsules / tablets should be taken per day, you need to study the instructions for the drug and get advice from a gynecologist.
The principle of using drugs with folic acid content is simple: before or during meals, with plenty of water.
Overdose and contraindications
Recently, it has become "fashionable" to prescribe to pregnant women folic acid in the amount of 5 mg per day - apparently, so they want to surely fill the body with vitamin B9.This is absolutely wrong!In spite of the fact that the excess of folic acid is excreted from the body 5 hours after admission, an increased dosage of folic acid can lead to the development of anemia, increased excitability, renal dysfunction, and abnormalities in the work of the gastrointestinal tract.It is believed that the maximum permissible dose of folic acid is 1 mg, 5 mg per day is a therapeutic dose, which is prescribed for diseases of the cardiovascular system and other parts of the body.
It should be clarified : even with an overdose of folic acid on the prescription of the doctor, there is no negative impact on the fetal development of the fetus.Only the future mother's body suffers.
Contraindication to the administration of folic acid is an individual intolerance to the substance or hypersensitivity to it.If such a disorder has not been identified before the appointment, then after using the drugs with vitamin B9, rash and itchiness on the skin can appear, hyperemia of the face( redness), bronchospasm.If these symptoms appear, stop taking the prescribed medications immediately and tell your doctor about it.
The benefits of folic acid for pregnant women are detailed in the video review:
Folic acid in products
In addition to medicines, doctors recommend eating foods that contain folic acid:
Folic acid and cancer: dataOfficial research
Many sources state that folic acid is prescribed during the treatment of cancer.But on this occasion the opinion of scientists / doctors is divided - some studies confirm that it is this substance that can restrain the growth of cancer cells and serve as a preventive measure in oncology, but others pointed to the growth of malignant formations when taking drugs with folic acid.
Overall assessment of the risk of developing cancer with folic acid
The results of a large-scale study evaluating the overall risk of cancer in patients taking folic acid preparations were published in January 2013 in The Lancet.
In his press release, the author of the study, Oxford University Professor Robert Clark said:
"This study allows you to be sure of the safety of taking folic acid for a period not exceeding five years - both in the form of additives and in the form of fortified foods»
The study involved about 50,000 volunteers who were divided into 2 groups: the first group received regular folic acid preparations, the other group - a placebo" dummy. "In the group that took folic acid, there were 7.7%( 1904) new cases of cancer, while in the placebo-receiving group, 7.3%( 1,809) new cases.A marked increase in the total incidence of cancer has not been seen even in people with a high average intake of folic acid( 40 mg per day), experts say.
Risks of developing breast cancer when taking folic acid
In January 2014, the results of another study were published.Scientists have studied the risks of developing breast cancer in women taking folic acid.Canadian researchers from St. Michael's Hospital( Toronto), in particular Dr. Yong-Ying-Kim, lead author of the study, found that folic acid preparations taken by patients with breast cancer can contribute to the growth of malignant cells.
Earlier, some scientists have argued that folate can protect against various types of cancer, including breast cancer.However, a study by Canadian scientists showed that consumption of folic acid at a dosage of 2.5 mg 5 times a day for 2-3 consecutive months significantly contributes to the growth of existing precancerous or cancer cells in the mammary glands of rodents. Important: this dosage is many times higher than the recommended dosage for a person.
Folic acid and risks of developing prostate cancer
In March 2009, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study of the relationship between folic acid intake and the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Scientists from the University of Southern California, in particular, the author of the study Jane Figueiredo, found that taking vitamin supplements with folic acid increases the risk of prostate cancer more than doubled.
Researchers for over six and a half years have observed the health status of 643 volunteers: men, whose average age was about 57 years.All men were divided into 2 groups: the first one took folic acid daily( 1 mg each), the second group received a placebo.During this time, the diagnosis of "prostate cancer" was put to 34 participants in the study.Based on the data they have given, the scientists calculated the probability of developing prostate cancer in all participants for 10 years and came to the conclusion that 9.7% of the people from the 1st group( taking folic acid) can get oncological disease and only 3.3%Men from the second group( taking "dummies").
Folic acid and laryngeal cancer
In 2006, scientists at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart found that taking large doses of folic acid helps regress leukoplakia of the larynx( a precancerous disease that precedes cancer of the larynx).
43 people participated in the experiment, who had leukoplakia of the larynx.They took 5 mg of folic acid 3 times a day.The results of the study, published by its head Giovanni Almadori, surprised doctors: regression was recorded in 31 patients.In 12 - complete cure, in 19 - decrease of spots 2 and more times.Italian scientists conducted an analysis and found that in the blood of patients with head and neck cancer, as well as patients suffering from leukoplakia of the larynx, the concentration of folic acid was reduced.On the basis of this hypothesis was advanced about the low level of folate as a provoking factor of development and progression of oncological diseases.
Folic acid and colon cancer
Earlier, scientists from the American Cancer Society proved that vitamin B9 significantly reduces the risk of developing colon cancer - it is enough to consume folic acid in the form of natural products( spinach, meat, liver, animal kidneys, sorrel) Or synthetic drugs.
However, the results of recent studies conducted by experts led by Tim Byers, deputy director of cancer prevention and control at the Cancer Center at the University of Colorado, have shown the danger of abuse of folate-containing drugs.To the public, a short version of the scientific report was presented here.
Tim Byers found that in patients who took dietary folic acid supplements, the number of polyps in the intestine increased( polyps are related to precancerous conditions). Important: , scientists stressed that it is about the use of drugs, rather than products containing folates.
Note: most of the studies confirming the increased risk of malignant neoplasms are based on the intake of doses many times exceeding the minimum recommended. Remember that the recommended dose is 200 - 400 mcg.Most folic acid preparations contain 1 mg of folate - this is 2.5 to 5 times the daily intake!
Tsygankova Yana Aleksandrovna, medical reviewer, therapist of the highest qualification category