Iron tablets, vitamins and omega capsules are all commonly taken, but should you also be incorporating a supplement for folic acid into your routine?
A folic acid deficiency can manifest itself in a variety of ways - these are the common signs to watch out for.
What is folic acid deficiency?
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps your body in the process of creating red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen around your body.
When your organs don’t receive enough oxygen, it doesn’t work as well as it should normally.
This can result in health problems like becoming anaemic. For pregnant women, a lack of folic acid can be dangerous to the baby's development.
What are the symptoms?
According to the NHS, there are a variety of symptoms you can experience if you’re suffering from a folic acid deficiency.
Extreme tiredness and an overall lack of energyExperiencing the sensation of pins and needlesA sore mouth including a sore and red tongue and mouth ulcersFeeling weakDistorted or blurry vision
The symptoms can also present themselves psychologically, with examples including:
DepressionFeeling confusedDifficulty remembering thingsProblems with understanding or judgement
What should I do if I think I have a deficiency?
If you’re concerned that might be experiencing a folic acid deficiency, then you should make an appointment with your GP. They’ll be able to assess your symptoms and may call for a blood test to confirm if you’re deficient.
You may then be prescribed folic acid tablets, or injections, in order to restore your lowered folate levels.
Folic acid also occurs naturally in a lot of food, such as:
LegumesLeafy greens like spinach, kale and rocketEggsCitrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limesBrussel sproutsBroccoliBananas
You can also keep an eye out for foods which have been fortified, which means that folic acid has been added, such as some types of breads and pasta.
This article originally appeared on our sister site Edinburgh Evening News