Saturday, September 5

Folic acid (vitamin B9) deficiency causes dermatitis (skin inflammation)

Folic acid is a water soluble vitamin and is labeled as vitamin B9. Its chemical name is pteroylglutamic acid. It is also called as Folate, Folacin and vitamin M.

This vitamin can be synthesized by by intestinal flora and stored in the liver. Folic acid is very important for production and maintenance of new cells, especially nerve cells. Both adults and children require folic acid for the production and maturation of red blood corpuscles. Folic acid has been found to be effective in treating depression and anxiety. Folic acid is very important in the development of the nervous system of the developing fetus.

Causes of vitamin B9 (folic acid) deficiency

Malnutrition is one of the main causes of vitamin B9 (folic acid) deficiency. Apart from the low income people, affluent population also suffers from folic acid deficiency, because of their preferential intake of processed foods. In processed foods by storage and processing the folic acid gets destroyed. Elderly people are also predisposed to folic acid deficiency, due to malnutrition and digestive impairment.

Pregnancy can be one of the causes of folic acid deficiency, as pregnant women need more folic acid due to fetal demand. Breast-feeding also causes deficiency of folic acid due to the added requirement of the infant. In persons who drink heavily, folic acid insufficiency may occur as active alcohol dehydrogenase in their blood by binding with folate interferes with its utilization.

Tropical sprue and celiac disease cause atrophy and loss of villi in the intestine and apart from debility, this causes the deficiency of folic acid. Patients on dialysis have been found to get folic acid depleted and become deficient. Nutritional deficiencies of Zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and niacin can affect absorption and metabolism of folic acid causing vitamin B9 deficiency.

Vitamin B9 (folic acid) deficiency causes

  • Shortage of folic acid may be indicated with diarrhea, heartburn and constipation.
  • Deficiency of folic acid in pregnancy may cause birth defects of the skull, brain, spine and nervous system.
  • Fatigue, skin inflammation and cracking of the corners of the mouth are some of symptoms in folic acid deficiency.
  • In severity folic acid deficiency causes loss of appetite, loss of memory, anxiety, anemia, osteoporosis and cancer.
  • Folic acid deficiency can cause sub-fertility.
  • Skin manifestations of folic acid deficiency are poor growth of hair, premature graying of hair, loss of hair, skin inflammation, sore tongue and glossitis (swollen tongue).

Vitamin B9 (folic acid) benefits for skin care and skin health

  • Vitamin B9 is very essential for the skin and hair health and helps in preventing premature graying of hair and hair loss.
  • Being essential for cell division, cell growth and immunity, folic acid prevents and also heals skin and hair follicle infections by speeding up skin repair.
  • Vitiligo is a skin pigment disorder appearing as white spots and patches on the skin. Vitiligo is found to respond well to folic acid supplements, if it is due to folic acid deficiency. Vitiligo patients have been found to have very low levels of folic acid.
  • Folic acid and creatine as a topical formulation have been found to accelerate regeneration of the epidermal skin.
  • Folic acid in the skin is destroyed by sunlight and the resultant folic acid deficiency of the skin contributes to the risk of skin cancer.
  • The most common folic acid deficiency symptom in the skin is seborrheic dermatitis (inflammation of skin).
  • Skin conditions like psoriasis respond well to folic acid supplements.
  • Folic acid aids in faster replenishment of skin cells and contributes to firmer and younger skin.

Toxicity of vitamin B9 (folic acid)

Toxicity of folic acid has been rarely reported. Persons taking drugs for epilepsy should be careful, as higher doses of folic acid may alter the functioning of the drugs. High doses of folic acid may mask the deficiency of vitamin B12.

Food sources of vitamin B9 (folic acid):

Good vitamin B9 (folic acid) foods are cereals, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, liver, liver oils, meat, fish and chicken contain folic acid in sufficient amounts. High value vitamin B9 (folic acid) food are liver and baker's yeast.

Recommended dietary daily allowances of vitamin B9 (folic acid) are as follows:

Infants and children
newborn to 12 months: 65 micrograms - 8o micrograms
one year to 3 years: 150 micrograms
4 years to 8 years: 200 micrograms
9 years to 13 years: 300 micrograms
Teenagers and adults
14 years to 18 years: 400 micrograms
Above 19 years: 400 micrograms
Pregnant women: 600 micrograms
Lactating mothers: 500 micrograms
For related information on skin inflammation (dermatitis), white spots and skin sensitivity read the following posts.
  1. Vitamin B6 ( pyridoxine, Pyridoxal phosphate, pyridoxamine) deficiency can cause skin inflammation (dermatitis)
  2. Vitamin B1 deficiency causes skin sensitivity
  3. Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) deficiency causes white spots on the skin
  4. The wonder super food spirulina for skin care
  5. The wonder super food olive oil for skin care

Get glowing skin complexion. Remove acne scars and blemishes from face.

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