What is folic acid? What is the use and functions of folic acid in human metabolism? Information about folic acid.
FOLIC ACID, is a vitamin essential for human metabolism. K was first isolated from a spinach leaf, and its name was derived from the Latin word folium, meaning “leaf.” Folic acid is also known as pteroylglutamic acid, or PGA.
A naturally occurring deficiency of folic acid is rarely found in man because the vitamin is contained in a wide variety of foods (particularly liver, egg yolks, yeast, and leafy vegetables) and is also formed by the bacteria of the intestinal tract. The actual quantity of folic acid required in the daily diet is not known. However, most diets seem to provide whatever amounts are necessary.
Folic acid deficiencies induced in experimental animals have caused anemia and diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Use of folic acid is effective in treating these symptoms. The sulfa drugs are thought to exert their effects on bacteria by interfering with folic acid production within the bacterial cell.
The role of folic acid in metabolism is as a coenzyme responsible for the transfer of 1-carbon groups. Such a transfer is the last link in the synthesis of purines and pyrimidines, which in turn are essential in the structure of nucleic acids. Interference with the formation of nucleic acids can give rise to a wide variety of symptoms; one of the most sensitive cellular responses affects the maturation of young red blood cells, so that anemia appears in the early stages of folic acid deficiency.