Folate and folic acid are two almost identical vitamins that vary slightly in their chemical formula but have essentially the same beneficial effects for one’s nutrition and hair health. The vitamin is found in green, leafy vegetables like spinach or broccoli, in legumes, such as peas, beans or lentils, and in a variety of fruits.
The importance of folate derives from its ability to stimulate the growth and cell regeneration process in the body. It is widely considered to be a factor in growth because it accelerates tissue repair and healing after prolonged disease or intense physical exercise.
Folate is among the most important vitamins not only for humans, but also for other animals and even bacteria. For example, there are antibiotics used for medical purposes to treat bacterial infections that kill bacteria by inhibiting their ability to use folate for their growth and multiplication. Without folate or folic acid, the bacteria stop growing and soon dies.
In the same manner, the human body needs folate to grow, repair its cells, and replace old cellular structures and components. For example, the hair contains a specific protein called keratin, which offers strength and flexibility.
Folate deficiency in one’s diet can cause the hair to become fragile or grey, and greatly accelerates hair loss. Introducing enough folate in the diet usually results in adequate hair growth. Folate is also very important for individuals who engage in physical work or exercise because it helps repair the muscles and recover faster by stimulating protein production and replacement. Athletes, military personnel and other physically active individuals are encouraged by nutritionists to increase their ingestion of folate or folic acid to satisfy the growing demands for healing, cellular repair and regeneration in their bodies.
A diet rich in “green” vegetables, legumes, and fruits usually provides enough folate for one’s nutritional needs. Fresh juices made from a variety of fruits or vegetables are especially rich in folate.
- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002408.htm http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/folate/NS_patient-folate