FOLIC ACID (Folacin)

FOLIC ACID (Folacin)
  • Folic acid is a yellow crystalline compound widely distributed in nature. Both folic acid and folinic acids occur in foods as conjugates of glutamic aicd. It is slightly soluble in water, relatively unstable to heat and easily destroyed by exposure to light. Folacin occurs in different forms. Most of it occurs as pterolypolyglutamates. It is sensitive to light and cooking loss is reduced by anti-oxidant agents like vitamin C.
  1. Folic acid is converted to active folinic acid. Folic acid acts as a co-enzyme. Co-enzyme takes part in metabolic process when it transfers single carbon units from one compound to another. Folacin co-enzymes are involved in many methylation reactions.
  2. Folic acid is essential for nucleoprotein synthesis and it is required for cell division and for maturation of erythrocytes.
  3. The role of folacin in protein synthesis is made use of in cancer therapy
  4. Folacin inhibitor like methortrexale is used in chemotherapy to inhibit tumor growth.
  5. It is essential for reproduction in animals
  6. Folic acid also helps the hair growth and health of skin
  • Lack of folacin results in megaloblastic aneamia. It is otherwise known as macrocytic anaemia.
  • This mainly affects pregnant women. Foilc acid deficiency in pregnant women leads to neural tube defect in infants.
  • Poor vegetarian diet supplies very little folacin.
  • This type of anaemia is due to inadequate formation of nucleoproteins. This prevents the megaloblasts in the bone marrow from maturing into erythrocytes.
  • In megaloblastic anaemia the number of red blood cells produced in the bone marrow is reduced.
  • The haemoglobin level is also reduced to 6-9 per cent and RBC count to two to three million per mm. Along with inadequate diet it also results from malabsorption syndromes like tropical sprue, B12 deficiency, after a surgical removal of a part of the stomach.
  1. Rich sources: Kidney, liver and dark green leafy vegetables, soyabean and groundnut
  2. Fair sources: Legumes, eggs, wholegrain cereals, other vegetables and fruits
Age Group Category Body weights
Niacin equivalents mg/d
Man Sedentary 60 16
Moderate 60 18
Heavy 60 21
Woman Sedentary 55 12
Moderate 55 14
Heavy 55 16
Pregnant 55 +2
55 +4
Infants 0-6 m 5.4 710μg/kg
6-12m 8.4 650μg/kg
Children 1-3y
7-9 y
Boys 10-12y 34.3 15
Girls 10-12y 35.0 13
Boys 13-15y 47.6 16
Girls 13-15y 46.6 14
Boys 16-17y 55.4 17
Girls 16-17y 52.1 14

Last modified: Friday, 1 June 2012, 8:44 AM