What Are The Side Effects Of Too Much Folic Acid In The Body?

Folic acid or folate or vitamin B9 is a very vital vitamin belonging to the B group of vitamins. It is essential in the embryonic development of the central nervous system. It is also crucial for energy manufacture of cells, synthesis of DNA, protein metabolism and formation of normal RBCs.

Nuts, green leafy vegetables and organ meats are packed with folate.

Pregnant women need folic acid supplementation to ensure normal CNS development in the baby. Those having megaloblastic anemia also need folate supplements. When folic acid supplements are taken, there is likelihood for overdose. Nonetheless, with a cautious intake of folic acid, toxicity can be prevented.

The recommended intake per day for folic acid is up to 400 micrograms for adults. Pregnant and lactating women need 600 micrograms per day to for the growing baby as well as to supply folate to the newborn. An overdose is rather rare, given that, our body excretes high amounts of folate, however, a dose of more than 1,000 micrograms per day may cause certain symptoms to manifest.

Signs And Symptoms Of Folic Acid Overdose

  • Common symptoms are – a bitter taste in the mouth, bloating, breathing difficulty, confusion, cramps, diarrhea, nausea, giddiness, exhaustion, hair loss, headache, mood swings, sleep disorders, vivid dreaming, and alterations in the weight.
  • Allergic reactions are also very commonly seen in folic acid overdose. Swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth, itching, and hives on the skin are seen.
  • Insomnia may also be experienced in folic acid overdose. There will be difficulty in sleeping; hyperactivity, restlessness, bad temper and failure to concentrate.

Side Effects Of Too Much Folic Acid In The Body

  • High doses of folate can cause low blood pressure.
  • It is also known to decrease blood sugar levels. Hence, caution is very necessary in those having diabetes and those who are taking drugs, herbs, or supplements which influence blood sugar levels. You must monitor serum sugar levels by an experienced healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be required from time to time.
  • Use folic acid supplements carefully in combination with aspirin. Injections of folic acid which contain benzyl alcohol must be administered only under the supervision of a physician.
  • Keep away from using folate supplements in combination with B vitamins after a cardiac surgery or in case you are taking anti-cancer drugs or folic acid blockers, unless prescribed by your doctor; it can have grave consequences.
  • Those who are very susceptible to allergic reactions or are sensitive to product ingredients in folic acid-containing supplements must steer clear of folic acid supplements or confer with a health care provider before embarking upon self medication.
  • Taking a high dose of folates usually corrects B 1 deficiency anemia; however, without remedying the insufficiency of vitamin B 12, which still persists. Consequently, doctors get confused and fail to detect the presence of B 12 deficiency.
  • One of the gravest effects is that folate overdose reduces the action of anti-convulsion medications in people who take them. Those who are vulnerable to seizures may suffer from them, inspite of taking the prescribed drugs.
  • Folic acid overdose also causes a deficiency of the mineral zinc in the body by reducing its absorption in the gut.