The B Vitamin That Brings Its A Game
Folate is a crucial building block of our bodies. The benefits of folate begin before birth and last a lifetime. This means that paying attention to our daily intake of folate plays an important role in our overall health.
Folate is instrumental on a cellular level. It naturally occurs in many foods we eat, but just as many foods are fortified with folic acid. As a result, so many folate-rich food options are available, in addition to supplements, to ensure we can all meet our recommended levels to prevent folate deficiencies.
Even with folate being so readily available, folate deficiency is still an issue. Are you getting enough folate and folic acid in your diet? What are ways you can incorporate more folate into your routine and get all the benefits it offers?
What is Folate?
Folate is the water-soluble natural form of vitamin B9. It is responsible for the healthy growth and proper functioning of red blood cells, prevents possible health issues, and plays a role in our DNA.
There are many folate-rich foods and folic acid supplements to choose from that can benefit the body’s daily functions. Folate is most often discussed during early pregnancy since a deficiency can lead to birth defects. Choosing a prenatal vitamin containing folate or folic acid is incredibly important.
What is the Difference Between Folate, Folic Acid, and Vitamin B9?
Folate and folic acid are typically used interchangeably. While similar, they represent two different things. Despite their differences, they both are excellent sources for achieving our daily folate nutritional needs and avoiding a folate deficiency.
Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 found in some foods, and it is also somewhat of an umbrella term that refers to the different forms of vitamin B9. For example, folate can refer to folic acid, dihydrofolate, tetrahydrofolate, 10-methylenetetrahydrofolate, and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Folic acid is used in supplements and folate-fortified foods.
When using folate in supplement form, it is typically referred to as folic acid. Folate found in food must be converted into folate monoglutamate by folate reductase for it to be absorbed. However, folic acid is absorbed twice as quickly in our bodies.
The folates found in natural-food forms are considered unstable. For example, 40% of folates can be destroyed in vegetables during the cooking process. 70% of folates can be destroyed in grains and cereals during the baking process.
7 Folate-Fortified Foods Containing Folic Acid
- Breakfast cereals
- Corn masa flour (used for corn tortillas and tamales)
Folate-fortified foods and folic acid supplements offer similar benefits to eating naturally folate-rich foods. In addition, the benefit of folic acid being absorbed more easily by the body makes avoiding a folate deficiency and attaining your daily folate intake goals more accessible than ever.
Many multivitamins are designed specifically with men or women in mind. These can provide the benefits you need from folic acid in addition to other necessary vitamins and nutrients your body needs to meet its goals.
What Does Folate Do?
- Makes DNA and RNA
- Repairs DNA
- Enhances protein metabolism
- Produces red blood cells
- Aids fetal development in early pregnancy
- Assists athletes in reaching their goals
- Possibly prevents erectile dysfunction
Folate Benefits and DNA and RNA
Folate is a primary resource for a carbon group that is vital to methylate DNA. Human and animal development is dependent on DNA methylation. Therefore, researchers are studying the role of folate intake levels and possible benefits of preventing or treating development disorders or chronic diseases, such as cancer.
Folate and Protein Metabolism
Another benefit of folate is its role in protein metabolism. Folate breaks down the amino acid homocysteine to create other chemicals. High homocysteine levels are a big indicator of a folate deficiency.
Elevated homocysteine levels can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Excessive homocysteine can damage the lining of the arteries and allow blood to clot easier than it should.
Folate Benefits For Red Blood Cells and Pregnancy
Folate is necessary for developing red blood cells and, during early pregnancy, for fetal development. It is responsible for helping to develop the neural tubes in the fetus.
A folate deficiency while pregnant can lead to possible neural tube defects such as spina bifida. If pregnant, consult with your doctor to ensure you get the proper amount of each necessary vitamin, including folate.
Folate Benefits and Athletes
In addition to pregnant women, all athletes need to pay attention to ensure they do not suffer from a folate deficiency. High-intensity training leads to a higher turnover rate of red blood cells. With folate being key to the development of red blood cells, it should be part of your multivitamin routine.
Folate Benefits Those Suffering From Erectile Dysfunction
A 2015 study showed what they believed to be a link between low folic acid levels and erectile dysfunction. Suggesting that men with higher levels of folate benefit from being less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction and its side effects.
Do You Have A Folate Deficiency?
If you are not intaking enough folate through foods or folic acid through supplements, you might suffer from a folate deficiency. The symptoms of a folate deficiency can vary from mild to severe, but all should be taken seriously and treated immediately.
7 Symptoms of Folate Deficiency
- Muscle weakness
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Headaches or dizziness
- Neurological signs (tingling, burning, numbness in limbs)
- Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
Similar to an iron deficiency, a folate deficiency can lead to anemia. Preventing and treating a folate deficiency requires actively supplying your body with the amount of folate it needs, either through supplements,folate-fortified foods, or folate-rich food sources.
What Is The Recommended Amount of Folate
Most adult men and women need 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate daily to prevent a folate deficiency. This can be achieved through folate-rich foods, fortified foods, or folic acid supplements.
Folate requirements increase while pregnant to prevent a folate deficiency. Women who are pregnant or nursing should intake 600 mcg of folate every day, not to exceed 1,000 mcg a day.
In addition, alcohol can affect the absorption of folate. Therefore, to ward off a potential folate deficiency, those who drink regularly would benefit from increasing their daily folate intake from 400 mcg to 600 mcg.
What Are Folate-Rich Foods?
- Green leafy vegetables
- Sunflower Seeds
- Fresh fruit
- Whole grains
Folate is prominent in many foods that are part of a well-balanced diet. The body you work for in the gym is dependent on the body you nourish in the kitchen.
Incorporating folate-rich foods like green vegetables, eggs, whole grains, and fresh fruit is typically the first step when beginning a fitness plan. However, taste buds, allergies, work, lifestyle, and time management all play a role in how often and how well we eat.
Suppose you struggle to get an appropriate amount of folate through your food options; there's no need to worry. Folic acid through supplements is an equally great option for meeting your nutritional needs.
Top 5 Folate/Folic Acid Supplements
- Bioactive B Complex
- Super B-Complex
- Men’s Health DAA+
Specifically formulated for the wellness needs of women, Balance by Alani Nu is an excellent supplement for folate. Not only is it a great source of folate, but it aims to address the main issues affecting women.
Balance Folate Supplement Benefits:
- Supports hormonal balance
- Brightens complexion
- Improves moods
- Helps with weight management
- Increases energy levels
- Provides more restful sleep
Balance supplement shows the best results if taken with breakfast as part of a healthy morning routine. It works to provide all the benefits of folate plus the benefits listed above while also supporting neural, cardiovascular, and psycho-emotional health and fertility.
This all-encompassing B-complex supplement works with your body to improve immune health and increase energy, metabolism, and liver function. It is a water-soluble supplement, so your body will use the vitamins instead of storing them.
Bioactive B-complex is a vegan formula that is dairy, soy, gluten, and GMO-free. Bioactive B-Complex has been clinically researched to formulate the ideal doses of each vitamin to achieve the maximum results within your body.
BioActive B-Complex Vitamins:
This is a fantastic supplement whether you are dealing with a vitamin B or folate deficiency or if you are looking to supplement your current diet.
Multi Performance Multivitamin For Men
Mammoth specifically designed this folate supplemented multivitamin with men in mind. Replenishment is the name of the game when it comes to this multivitamin.
Mammoth knows you work hard and train hard to reach your goals. But, after a long day, your body needs to refuel, and this blend of micronutrients provides the support you need to deliver the results you work so hard for.
In addition to folate, calcium, manganese, zinc, and copper, it also provides the daily recommended dose of seven other vitamins.
Multi by Mammoth Provides The Daily Recommended Dose of These 7 Vitamins:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
This antioxidant blend of vitamins and nutrients fights off free radicals, helps detoxify your liver, and aids in enhancing the health and virility of men. In addition, it helps your muscles and body as a whole recover from training and the stresses of everyday life.
You can never underestimate the importance of maintaining a healthy immune system. But unfortunately, stress and illness both play significant roles in our abilities to achieve our goals in and out of the gym.
Eating right and maintaining fitness goals is imperative to a full and healthy life. However, there are times that we will need the help of supplements. Supplements can make up for our health deficiencies to help us reach our goals and maximize our efforts in the gym (and the kitchen).
Super B-Complex Folate and Other Vitamin Benefits:
- Supports nervous system
- Supports immune system
- Supports healthy brain function
- Breaks down fat, carbohydrates, and proteins
- Aids in dealing with bodily stress
The Super B-Complex supplement includes eight variations of B vitamins that are essential for health and wellness benefits. Vitamin B is responsible for the development and growth of dozens of functions within our body.
Vitamins and Essential Nutrients in Super B-Complex:
- Folic acid
- Riboflavin (B12)
- Thiamin (B1)
- Niacin (B3)
- Vitamin C
The full range of B vitamins means the inside and outside of your body will reap the benefits. Since folate is present, help is available for the skin, digestive, nervous, and immune systems, and the health and production of red blood cells are covered.
Men’s Health DAA+
Men’s Health DAA+ is a hormonal support supplement for men. A new formula for this supplement, beloved by many athletes, offers a more streamlined approach to reaching your health needs. With fewer ingredients, you can have more confidence in what you are putting into your body.
Health Benefits of Men’s Health DAA+:
- Naturally boost testosterone
- Stimulate pituitary gland
- Clinically tested hormonal support.
In addition to the benefits of folate, testosterone plays a key role in red blood cell production. Testosterone also aids in the development of muscle mass, sperm, and fat storage.
As you get older, your testosterone level will decrease, which is why SD Pharmaceuticals worked to create a folate supplement that will naturally increase your testosterone levels. Once you turn 30, testosterone can decrease by 1% each year.
Factors That Can Lower Testosterone Levels:
- Alcohol abuse
Folate is Part Of Maintaining A Healthy Body
However you get your folate, achieving the recommended daily allowance is incredibly important. Whether through folate-rich foods, folate-fortified foods, or folic acid supplements, how you get folate is not as important as how much folate you get.
Knowing that folic acid is absorbed almost twice as quickly in the body than it is through folate-rich foods is an incredible relief to those that rely on supplements as part of their wellness routine.
Folate deficiencies can have long-term side effects that affect your quality of life, but they don't have to. While adjusting your diet might not always be doable, adding folic acid supplements is. You work hard in the gym, and you deserve to see the best results – folate can help you get them.