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Fall 2011 Exam Review #1

Course Code
NUTR 1010
Nishan Mudalige
Study Guide

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Folate (latin for “foliage”)
- Water soluble b-vitamin
- RDA for men and women >19 years is 400 micrograms/day
-Found naturally in diet in leafy vegetables
Folic acid is the active form of folate
- Naturally-occuring food folate converted to folic acid in the body, with the help
of B12
-We also consume folic acid
oIn supplements (including prenatal vitamins)
oIn fortified foods (e.g. grain products such as breads and pasta)
- We absorb almost 100% of folic acid, but only ~50% folate
FUNCTIONS OF FOLIC ACID (active form of folate)
-Plays a role in DNA synthesis
oImportant in new cell and tissue formation
oConstantly need new red blood cells, therefore folate helps blood
oCritical during first few weeks of pregnancy when making a lot of new
cells. Folate is critical in the first four weeks of pregnancy.
- With vitamins B6 and B12, maintains normal homocysteine levels.
oIt is an amino acid produced in our bodies as a biproduct of making
another amino acid. B12, B6 and folic acid break down homocysteine;
deficiency of any of these increases homocysteine in blood
oHomocysteine increases blood coagulation (blood clogging) and LDL
o~10% of risk developing cardiovascular disease due to
oHomocysteine may damage the walls of our blood vessels, which
therefore may prompt plaque formation.
- No problems with consuming too much folate in its naturally occurring form
- Too much folic acid can mask vitamin B12 deficiency
oBecause of this, UL for folic acid is 1000 micrograms per day
oFolic acid fortified in foods causes the concern that people are consuming
too much folic acid
- Cannot produce folic acid
- Results:
oImpaird DNA synthesis and cell division, leading to macrocytic/large cell
anemia and possibly neural tube (develops into spinal chord and brain of
fetus) defects
oIncrease homocysteine levels, therefore increasing cardiovascular disease
Macrocytic Anemia
- Red clood cells are unable to divide, and therefore grow larger. This is known as
a macrocyte (a large red blood cell)
- Fewer functioning red blood cells, and the capacity of our blood to carry oxygen
is diminished
- Signs and symptoms:
oTired, pale
oHeadache, irritable
oDizzy, weak
oLoss of appetite weight loss
- GOOD NEWS: reversible!
oAdd folic acid supplements