Deficiency of folic acid can actually cause peripheral neuropathy.
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you probably know all about folic acid.
For some time now, it’s been added to pre-natal dietary supplements because it is helpful to prevent certain birth defects. The story of folic acid is much more than this.
Folic acid is a nutrient that is taken in by our diets and converted into active forms. The active forms interact in a variety of functions in the human body, and animals.
For neuropathy and chronic pain patients, it is critically important because deficiency of folic acid can actually cause peripheral neuropathy.
Folic acid is critical for normal repair of our body’s cells. It is a key nutrient in DNA synthesis and repair. It’s also necessary to prevent anemia or low red blood cells.
Some of the other signs that can occur in deficiency or low levels include mental health changes like depression, fatigue, and like many of the other B vitamin deficiencies, sores around the mouth and tongue.
Folic acid is so important that is one of the key nutrients that we check as part of the routine neuropathy evaluation. You may also remember, vitamin D and B12 are usually checked on a regular basis too in patients over the age of 50. This is something that should be repeated at least annually.
Although folic acid has low toxicity, we never recommend self-diagnosis or supplementation without a blood test. The reason for this is that taking folic acid supplements can actually mask vitamin B12 deficiency. Both vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies cause serious illness, including neuropathy and damage to the nervous system.
If you are following the NeuropathyDR Diet, deficiency of folic acid is unlikely. Folic acid is really available in leafy greens and other vegetables including asparagus, lettuce, and legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils.
Fruits, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, as well as bananas and pineapple juice are also good sources of folic acid.
Because folic acid can break down in excess heat and sunlight, good food storage and preparation is critical.
So, now you know much more about this very essential nutrient. Be sure to include some of the key sources of folic acid in your diet daily! Your body will thank you!
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