What Does Folic Acid Have to Do With Bacterial Vaginosis?
If you have been researching bacterial vaginosis cures on the internet, ones that can be taken in the privacy of your own home, then you will have noticed that folic acid is mentioned frequently.
What is folic acid and why is it recommended for bacterial vaginosis?
How much should be taken daily for it to be effective?
Folic acid is one of the B vitamins.
Most of the B vitamins – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 are known by their B vitamin name but a few – biotin, folic acid, choline, PABA and inositol are known by their word names.
Folic acid is one of the most important vitamins needed for pregnancy. Without adequate folic acid, babies are born with neural tube defects, disorders of the development of the brain and spinal cord.
The most common neural tube defect is spina bifida or opening of the spine. Another problem that can occur in those with folic acid deficiency is cleft palate.
The scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the National Institutes of Health discovered that a supplement of 400 mcg per day reduced the incidence of cleft palate by 33%. (Source)
Other research studies have determined that a high percentage of pregnant ladies and even adults are deficient in folic acid (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988-91). It takes four months for deficiency signs and symptoms to show up.
Deficiency symptoms include the following :
- difficulty focusing
- heart palpitations
- red painful tongue
How Folic Acid Works In The Body
Folic acid works in DNA during cell division. The vitamin repairs DNA, synthesizes DNA, is necessary to create red blood cells, anemia. Folic acid is very important for times when there is rapid cell division and this occurs regarding the bacteria in your intestinal tract as well as during pregnancy.
What Foods Are High In Folic Acid?
Foods that are high in folic acid include liver, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, juice, dried beans and legumes, and fortified cereals, flours, pasta, bread and rice.
What Destroys Folic Acid?
Folic acid is destroyed by heat. If you have malabsorption problems (celiac disease, IBS), then it’s possible that you are unable to absorb this important B vitamin. Alcohol interferes with the metabolism of folic acid.
And other deficiencies such as vitamin B2, B3, B12 and zinc also affect folic acid absorption.
Connection of Folic Acid to Bacterial Vaginosis
Healthcare practitioners don’t really know what specifically it is about folic acid that helps in cases of bacterial vaginosis. Most likely, the vitamin increases the replication of Lactobacillus acidophilus strains in your vaginal tract.
This then helps restore the pH of the vagina, which in turn results in a decrease in harmful bacteria.
The Lactobacillus bacteria also produce lactic acid, which feeds the tissues of the female reproductive tract, keeping it healthy.
Troubling Finding About Folic Acid Supplements
Scientists are a little perplexed to find out that those who take folic acid supplements are more prone to different kinds of cancer. The reason for this could be simple – most folic acid supplements may not be manufactured in a way that agrees with the body. Folic acid is a vitamin that is absolutely essential for the body and when food sources that are eaten in high quantity, there is no increase in cancer rates.
This tells us that there is definitely something about the supplements themselves and their manufacturing that is not totally correct. It could also be a problem because B vitamins are only found in nature together with other B vitamins; taking one B vitamin without the others can create new deficiencies.
What You Can Do About Folic Acid Intake
Folic acid is most likely okay in supplement form for short periods of time such as for a week or two. Amounts of 800 mcg daily up to 4000 mcg daily have been recommended by health care practitioners.
However, it makes more sense that someone with bacterial vaginosis takes a supplement of about 800 mcg daily in addition to a B complex as well. In the meantime, don’t forget your probiotics!