Iron and folic acid are two vital nutrients needed for proper growth and functioning of our body.
Folic Acid or Vitamin B9 is a water soluble vitamin. It is an essential component needed for cell division and thus a contributing factor to growth. Folic acid also helps in the formation of DNA. The minimum daily requirement of folic acid is 400mg. Pulses, green leafy vegetables, peas, beans and citrus fruits like oranges are rich sources of folic acid.
Iron is a mineral found in red meat, eggs, lentils, beans, sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables, wheat and dry fruits like cashews. Iron helps in the formation of RBCs (Red Blood Cells) and helps in the transportation of oxygen to different parts of the body.
1. Combating Anemia
Deficiency of iron and folic acid is a leading cause of anemia, particularly in women and children. Difficulty in breathing, general fatigue and tiredness, headaches, palpitations, dizziness and pain in the chest are the common symptoms of anemia. Meeting the daily requirements of folic acid and iron helps combat anemia.
2. Helps during Mensuration
Excessive blood loss during mensuration can cause exhaustion. Consuming food rich in folic acid and iron helps reduce fatigue and improve health.
3. Reduces risk of Certain Cancer
Iron and folic acid are known to reduce the risks of breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. It is important to note that they help in prevention and not in the treatment of cancer.
4. Keeps the Heart Healthy:
Folic acid helps lower homocysteine in the body, thereby keeping the heart healthy and reducing the chances of heart diseases. Naturally occurring folic acid and Iron is preferred to supplements for better health of the heart.
5. Prevents Depression and Keeps the Brain Healthy:
The combination of folic acid and iron is known to enhance brain functioning and prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and depression.
6. Improves Fertility:
Folic acid is known to increase fertility in men and women alike. Doctors prescribe folic acid and iron supplements to women trying to start a family.
7. Helps during Pregnancy
Folic acid and iron helps in a healthy pregnancy and are important for the proper growth of the fetus. Folic acid deficiency is known to cause neural defects in babies. Lack of Iron can lead to blood circulation related problems like underweight baby, premature delivery or stillborn baby in extreme cases.
8. Helps Height Gain during Adolescence
Iron and folic acid are known to enhance growth, particularly in teenagers and young adults.
9. Causes Age-related Hearing Loss
Folic acid supplements help in slowing down the progression of age related hearing loss in senior citizens with high levels of homocysteine.
10. Causes Age-related Muscular Degeneration
Senior citizens, particularly women, consuming 2,500 mcg of folic acid have a reduced risk of developing loss of vision from AMD.
While consumption of folic acid and iron in its natural forms is the best, supplements are provided in cases wherein the natural availability is usually not possible.