Acid, folic: One of the B vitamins that is a key factor in the synthesis (the making) of nucleic acid (DNA and RNA).
A deficiency of folic acid after birth causes a kind of anemia, namely, megaloblastic anemia in which there is a paucity of red blood cells and those that are made are unusually large and immature (so-called blast cells).
Lack of adequate folic acid during pregnancy was first found to increase the risk for the baby to have a birth defect involving the spinal cord and brain — a neural tube defect such as spina bifida (meningomyelocele) or anencephaly.
The association was then investigated between the mother’s use of drugs that act as folic acid antagonists in the first trimester of pregnancy and the birth of a child with a congenital malformation (birth defect). It was found that folic acid antagonists increased the risk not only of neural tube defects but also of congenital heart malformations, cleft lip and palate , and urinary tract defects. Folic acid. it now is clear, reduces the risks for a remarkably broad gamut of birth defects.
In order for folic acid to be effective in preventing these birth defects, the vitamin must be consumed every day beginning before conception and continuing through the first three months of pregnancy. Educating women (and their doctors) about the importance of folic acid is going to require a major effort. According to one study, only 10% of women know that folic acid should be taken before pregnancy.
- Acid, nucleic
Acid, nucleic: One of the molecules in the chromosomes of living cells and viruses that plays a central role in the storage and replication of hereditary information and in the expression of this information through protein synthesis. The two chief types of nucleic acids are: DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) which contains the hereditary information in humans […]
- Acid, pantothenic
Acid, pantothenic: Pantothenic acid is vitamin B5. It is one of 8 water soluble B vitamins that enables the body to break down carbohydrates into glucose to produce energy and to make red blood cells. It is present in foods as diverse as poultry, soybeans, yogurt, and sweet potatoes. No naturally occurring disease due to […]
- Acid, trans fatty
Acid, trans fatty: An unhealthy substance, also known as trans fat, made through the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils. Hydrogenation solidifies liquid oils and increases the shelf life and the flavor stability of oils and foods that contain them. Trans fat is found in vegetable shortenings and in some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods […]
- Acid-base balance
Acid-base balance: Acid-base balance refers to the mechanisms the body uses to keep its fluids close to neutral pH (that is, neither basic nor acidic) so that the body can function normally.
Acidophilus: Bacteria found in yogurt that can help restore a supportive bacterial environment to an intestinal tract whose normal intestinal bacterial population (“flora”) has been disturbed by disease or antibiotics. Eating yogurt with acidophilus may also be useful in preventing candidiasis (thrush), including in the vagina.