What is the Connection Between Folic Acid and Anemia?

Brandon May
Brandon May
Legumes contain folic acid.
Legumes contain folic acid.

Folic acid is an important B vitamin which is usually obtained from the diet in adequate amounts. Having low levels of folic acid in the diet can contribute to anemia, as folic acid aids in blood cell formation and the carrying of oxygen throughout the body. Those who suffer from anemia often suffer from a folic acid deficiency and can be treated by adding foods into the diet to increase folic acid intake or taking folic acid supplements. Folic acid and anemia are very closely linked and a deficiency in this important vitamin is crucial to preventing the development of anemia symptoms.

Leafy green vegetables are a good source of folic acid.
Leafy green vegetables are a good source of folic acid.

Anemia is a condition in which the body cannot produce enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Without enough oxygen being transported to the organs, lethargy results. Heredity may be one of the causes of anemia. Women in child-bearing years are also susceptible due to the loss of iron in the blood during menstruation. This condition may also be the result of a folic acid deficiency, making it easy to treat by adopting a healthier lifestyle or supplementing with folic acid.

Low levels of folic acid in the blood may contribute to anemia.
Low levels of folic acid in the blood may contribute to anemia.

The important link between folic acid and anemia is that when folic acid is present, it aids the production of healthy red blood cells which help transport oxygen throughout the body. Anemia develops with the lack of folic acid in the body due to the lack of production of healthy red blood cells. Folic acid and anemia may be connected if an individual has a hard time absorbing this B vitamin through his or her diet or is at a greater need for this vitamin. Usually this is due to drinking alcohol or being pregnant or menstruating, but iron levels can rise quite easily through simple treatment.

Anemia is characterized by chronic fatigue.
Anemia is characterized by chronic fatigue.

Treating folic acid-deficient anemia usually involves supplementing with folic acid capsules every day to increase folic acid levels. Doctors will test for folic acid and anemia after supplementing, and may also ask the individual to increase intake of dark leafy greens, which are a good source of folic acid. Decreasing alcohol consumption is also an important factor to consider when treating anemia, as alcohol interferes with the absorption of folic acid. Anemia usually clears through adding more natural sources of folic acid into the diet, as well as supplementing with folic acid capsules if needed.

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    • Legumes contain folic acid.
      Legumes contain folic acid.
    • Leafy green vegetables are a good source of folic acid.
      Leafy green vegetables are a good source of folic acid.
    • Low levels of folic acid in the blood may contribute to anemia.
      Low levels of folic acid in the blood may contribute to anemia.
    • Anemia is characterized by chronic fatigue.
      Anemia is characterized by chronic fatigue.