The Institute of Medicine in the US states that adults should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. It is also known as folate or vitamin B9, and is crucial for our health as it helps our body make and repair DNA as well as produce red blood cells. Should you be running low on folate, you may suffer from certain symptoms and develop anemia, a condition in which your internal organs can’t get enough oxygen to work properly. Here are a list of common signs that indicate your body needs more folic acid.
- Cognitive problems
Folic acid is especially important for your central nervous system. If your body lacks this vitamin, you may struggle with depression, have trouble concentrating and may feel forgetful and irritable. If it is not treated properly, an insufficient intake of folate may increase the risk of developing serious disorders including dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
- Body pains
If anemia caused by folate deficiency is severe, your brain will get a lot less oxygen than it ideally should. As a result, the brain’s arteries will start swelling and you’ll likely get a headache. If your brain isn’t the only organ lacking in oxygen, you may also feel pain in other parts of your iron-deficient body, particularly in the chest and legs.
- Pale skin
There is a protein contained in red blood cells called hemoglobin which is responsible for transporting oxygen from your lungs to all of your body tissues. When your body is lacking in folate you don’t have enough red blood cells (and hemoglobin) to provide your internal organs with the necessary amount of oxygen. This can cause a feeling of weakness in your muscles, fatigue and numbness in your hands and feet as, well as painful skin.
- Shortness of breath
Do you notice yourself getting out of breath when doing things that you’d normally handle without any issues? This could indicate that your oxygen levels are low because your body is lacking in red blood cells. Along with this symptom, you might also experience an increased heart rate as well as a feeling of dizziness or faintness.
- Digestive problems
According to some studies, in addition to mouth sores, deficiency in folic acid may result in having trouble tasting your food. This happens because your taste receptors, called papillae, cannot send messages to your brain via your nervous system, due to the existing tongue problems. Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea after meals may be the first signs indicating that your body is low in folic acid. In severe cases, you may also suffer from anorexia which usually leads to significant weight loss.
- Mouth sores and tongue swelling
When your folate levels are severely low, you may notice mouth sores and tongue swelling – two symptoms you shouldn’t neglect. Your tongue may look swollen, red or shiny particularly around the tip and the edges. Due to a decrease in red blood cells, you may feel pain when swallowing or suffer from a sore tongue and stomatitis.
- Reduced sense of taste
According to some studies, in addition to mouth sores, deficiency in folic acid may result in having trouble tasting your food. This happens because your taste receptors, called papillae, cannot send messages to your brain via your nervous system, due to the existing tongue problems.