According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (2001), folic acid deficiency refers to the inadequacy of folic acid in the diet. The condition is popularly known as folate deficiency anemia. Inadequate dietary intake of folates or excessive body loses of folate causes folic acid deficiency. Various biological body situations such as certain anemia, kidney dialysis, liver disease, malabsorption, pregnancy and lactation and tobacco smoking increase the demand of folic acid by the body. Medications such as anticonvulsants, metformin, methotrexate, sulfasalazine, triamterene and oral contraceptives also influence folic acid utilization by the body (Food and Agricultural Organization, 2001). Signs that reveal the condition in humans include loss of appetite and weight, general body weakness, sore tongue, heart palpitations, headaches, irritability and behavioral disorders. The deficiency causes pregnant women to conceive low birth weight and premature infants having neural tube illnesses. Extreme suffering from folic acid deficiency among adults results in macrocytic and megaloblastic anemia. Observations reveal that children born with folate deficiency have slow rate of growth. On the other hand, vitamin B12 deficiency refers to inadequate amounts of vitamin B12 in the blood stream. The long-term effect of this deficiency is permanent impairment of the nervous tissue. The vitamin was discovered from the study of pernicious anemia, an autoimmune disorder that kills the parietal cells of the stomach (Jacoby & Youngson, 2004). The parietals cells are essential in the production of the intrinsic factor. The prevalence rates of these deficiencies are alarming, and individuals should be encouraged to ingest vitamin B12 supplements and seek medical attention on improper absorption of vitamin. With respect to this, this paper discusses metabolic and health consequences of folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency.
Effects of Folic Acid Deficiency on Human Metabolism