Folic acid and its solar incidence

Now, researchers from the University of Malaga (UMA) have shown, for the first time, that folic acid levels decrease significantly in the months with the highest incidence of solar radiation.

This team of scientists has determined a seasonal risk threshold among patients with a deficiency of this vitamin, confirming that ultraviolet radiation directly affects the proportion of folate in the body.

A study carried out by the Dermatological Photobiology Laboratory of the UMA, which is located in the Center for Medical Health Research (CIMES), in which they have analyzed more than 100,000 patients from hospital units in Malaga over five years, have specified since the university in a statement.

“We have detected that the cycles are repeated annually. The percentage of low values ​​increases in summer by almost 3.5 percent compared to winter”, according to researcher José Aguilera, who has also added that, regardless of seasonality, folic acid levels are lower in men than in women. With these results, experts recommend that patients with folic acid values ​​below 4 ng/mL incorporate foods rich in this vitamin into their diet in the summer months, such as legumes or green leafy vegetables, and even in cases of low deficit, take supplements.

Essential for cell growth

Folic acid is essential for cell division and growth. Its insufficiency is related to various pathologies such as megaloblastic anemia, neural tube defects or cardiovascular diseases. It is, therefore, a vitamin, B9, of vital importance for people, since it influences, for example, the incorporation of iron from anemia, or, in the case of babies, it helps to prevent them from being born with congenital disabilities, hence its importance during pregnancy.

Regarding its specific functions, we can mention that its presence is necessary in the formation of nucleic acids (DNA, RNA), carriers of genetic information to cells. In the event that the woman is pregnant, it is essential to consume the necessary amounts of this vitamin, since, as mentioned, its deficiency can cause congenital anomalies. It has a joint role with vitamin B12 for the formation of erythrocytes (red blood cells). Participates in the transfer of carbon molecules, essential to synthesize all kinds of compounds. And it intervenes in the development of the nervous system.

Since 2006, researchers from the University of Malaga have been working on the search for new trends in photoprotection, towards unprecedented lines that advance the relationship between light and skin, through the Dermatological Photobiology laboratory, unique in Spain. The study of the positive effects of vitamin D to prevent certain diseases such as digestive and cardiovascular diseases or the development of more efficient and long-lasting sunscreens, based on synthetic compounds, but inspired by seaweed, are other lines of research.

Food sources of folic acid or vitamin B9

  • Green leafy vegetables: such as spinach, turnip greens, cabbage, lettuce.
  • In some fruits, such as citrus, melon or banana.
  • Legumes (fava beans, beans, beans).
  • Meat (especially liver and kidneys).
  • Whole grains.
  • Milk and eggs.
  • some dried fruit

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