Scientists believe that zinc and folic acid have an impact on each other’s effectiveness. Research shows that enzymes that process folic acid for use in the body work best in the presence of zinc. Folic acid’s impact on zinc, however, may not be so positive. Some studies in the 1980s suggested that folic acid, in large quantities, may block the body’s absorption of zinc, which is needed for physiological health. Interference proved greatest when this form of the vitamin folate was taken at high levels consistently over several months or years.
Competing research in the 1990s, however, showed that folic acid supplementation in short periods of time ranging from two weeks to one month had no effect on zinc reserves in the body and may even be benign in the long-term. Studies since that time have delivered mixed results, with most suggesting no major impact at recommended levels of 2 mg to 4 mg of folic acid a day and 10 mg to 30 mg of zinc daily. Some doctors are still wary. Most nutritionists agree that consumption of zinc and folic acid at recommended levels will likely be safe. The levels of these nutrients obtained from diet and natural foods present the lowest risk of interference, reports claim.
Many people continue to get extra zinc and folic acid in artificial form from supplements in addition to dietary sources in hopes of obtaining a myriad of health benefits. Research shows that both of these nutrients improve sexual reproduction and provide protective nutrients that can allegedly help people avoid illness. Zinc strengthens immunity and encourages healthy body development.
Folic acid, also known as pteroylmonoglutamic acid, can potentially prevent heart disease and neurological disorders. Medical studies reveal that deficient levels of folic acid can hinder a cell’s ability to divide and can result in a type of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia. This condition causes abnormally large red blood cells, often resulting in energy loss, paleness and headaches. Insufficient amounts of folic acid in pregnant women can cause babies to be born with spinal bfida or with missing parts of the skull and brain. Many foods have folic acid added to them to prevent these ailments.
Natural food sources containing folic acid include liver, spinach, and asparagus. Zinc can be obtained naturally by eating foods such as oysters, pork shoulder, beef shank, and crab. Many fortified cereals have the recommended quantities of both zinc and folic acid.