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Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2008 Aug 13;62:405-19.

[Folic acid in physiology and pathology].

[Article in Polish]

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Katedra i Zakład Biochemii, Warszawski Uniwersytet Medyczny.


This paper presents current knowledge of the biological functions of folic acid, the effects of its deficiency in the organism, as well as the possibilities of its therapeutic use. Folic acid (folate, B9) is a vitamin of special importance in normal cellular functions. Tetrahydrofolate (TH4-folate) is the biologically active form of folic acid. The main role of folic acid in biochemistry is the single-carbon transfer reaction (e.g. transfer of a methyl, methylene, or formyl group). Folic acid is involved in the transformation of certain amino acids as well as in the synthesis of purines and dTMP (2'-deoxythymidine-5'-phosphate) needed for the synthesis of nucleic acid (DNA), required by all rapidly growing cells. In humans, folate deficiency results in serious pathologies, the most important of which are neural tube defects, megablastic anemia, acceleration of the arteriosclerotic process, changes in the central nervous system, and the development of certain types of cancer. To increase the intake of folic acid, preventive actions include dietary education, the main objectives of which are to increase the intake of natural folate in the daily diet, add folic acid to selected dietary products (e.g. fl our, pasta, rice), and encourage supplementation with folic acid-containing pharmaceuticals.

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