Folate or folic acid is a highly essential nutrient for the proper functioning and maintenance of our body. Lack or deficiency of this nutrient can cause a host of diseases.
Low intake of green vegetables, legumes, and enriched grains are some of the most likely causes of this deficiency. Prolonged cooking and storage of food can result in the loss of folic acid content in food.
Some of the early symptoms of folate deficiency include fatigue, headache, palpitations, diarrhea, as well as difficulty concentrating.
People with a folate deficiency will show obvious physical signs like weight loss and loss of appetite. Folate deficiency is also known to cause sore tongue, headache, and irritability. Several behavioral disorders and depression might also be seen in the person with folate deficiency, as the nutrient plays a key role in maintaining the health of the central nervous system.
In adults, one of the main folate deficiency symptoms could be anemia. Anemia is caused due to the decrease of a compound called hemoglobin in the blood. Some of the symptoms of anemia include shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue, and pale skin.
One of the most life-threatening effects of folate deficiency in pregnant women is the birth of low birth weight infants who suffer from birth defects like neural tube defects. Deficiency of folate results in unrepairable damage to the nervous system in infants as well as in newborn children. This deficiency is also likely to slow the growth rate of older children leading to severe deformities.
Deficiency of folate may result in immense bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract as well as other areas. Immediate medical advice should be taken if there is any bleeding in the body as this is a symptom of the chronic stages of folate deficiency.
Certain types of cancers can also be caused due to the deficiency of folate. One of the most common types is the colorectal cancer, which is the cancer of the rectum and the colon. Neuronal damage may also occur under harsh conditions.
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