According to the Institute of Medicine in the United States, adults should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid per day. This substance, also called folate or vitamin B9, is extremely important for our health as it helps our body to create and repair DNA and produce red blood cells.
If your body is lacking folate, you might be suffering from certain symptoms and even develop anemia, a condition where your internal organs do not receive enough oxygen to work properly.
We have made a list of the most common symptoms:
Folic acid is extremely important to your central nervous system. If your body lack this vitamin, you might be struggling with depression, having trouble concentrating and feeling irritable and forgetful.
If not treated properly, an insufficient intake of folate can also increase the risk of developing serious disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
In severe cases of anemia caused by folate deficiency, your brain gets less oxygen than it ideally should. In response, the brain’s arteries start swelling and you get a headache.
However, your brain isn’t the only organ that lacks oxygen, so you can also feel pain in other parts of your iron-deficient body, especially in the chest and legs.
Hemoglobin, a protein that is contained in the red blood cells, is responsible for transporting oxygen from your lungs to all of the tissues in your body.
When your body lacks folate, you do not have enough red blood cells and hemoglobin to provide your internal organs with the necessary amount of oxygen. This can result in feelings of muscle weakness, fatigue, numbness in your hands and feet and pale skin.
Shortness of breath
If you notice yourself getting out of breath when doing things that you’d normally handle without any issues, this means that your oxygen levels are low because your body lacks red blood cells.
Along with this symptom, you might also experience an increased heart rate and the feeling of dizziness, or even fainting.
Gastrointestinal problem such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea after meals can be the first signs that your body lacks folic acid. In some severe cases, you might also suffer from anorexia which usually leads to significant and alarming weight loss.
Mouth sores and tongue swelling
These symptoms usually occur when the lack of folate is quite severe, so you shouldn’t neglect them. Your tongue may look swollen, red, or shiny, usually around the tip and the edges at first.
Due to the decrease in red blood cells, you may also feel pain when swallowing or suffer from a sore tongue and stomatitis.
Reduced sense of taste
According to some recent studies, in addition to mouth sores, deficiency in folic acid can result in having trouble tasting your food. It happens because your taste receptors, called papillae, cannot send messages to your brain through your nervous system due to existing tongue problems.
Bonus: How to treat folate deficiency
The easiest way to resolve folate deficiency is through your diet. To keep an adequate folic status, you should try to consume more dark green vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach and asparagus.
As for other foods, it is better to consume citrus fruits, mushrooms and whole grains on a regular basis. If you have noticed some of these symptoms, the first thing you should do is visit and consult your doctor. Only after that should you start to change your eating habits.