Aneuploidy refers to abnormal number of chromosomes in a cell and results in genetic disorders such as Down’s and Edward’s syndromes. Aneuploidy is associated with deficiency of folate in the human body. Folate is the term for naturally occurring group of water soluble b vitamins. Folic acid is the synthetic version used in food fortification and dietary supplements. It is most commonly recommended for pregnant women to help prevent Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) in newborn babies. The natural sources of folate are leafy vegetables, fruits, okra, asparagus, tomato juice, and orange juice.
Folic acid supplements have also been reported as effective in treating cardiovascular disorders, cancer, and psychiatric illnesses. Newborn babies require around 65 micrograms (mcg) of folate, while pregnant women need at least 600 mcg daily. Hispanic and Latina women are recommended to follow a folate-rich diet due to low folate levels in their blood. Use of tobacco, alcohol or caffeine also affects folate levels in the body, especially in men.
According to a recent study by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK on effects of folic acid, men with low levels of this vitamin suffer from low sperm count. For every 100 gram increase of daily folate intake, there was a 3.6% reduction in the chance of chromosomal abnormality.
Deficiency in folic acid can result in alopecia or hair loss. Hair discoloration occurs on account of megaloblastic anemia—a condition in which abnormally large red blood cells are produced and the total red blood cell count is low. Regular consumption of folic acid can restore hair. A study by the Ontario Veterinary College in Canada demonstrated hair restoration in Charolais calf.
Risk of Excessive Intake:-
While the cases of NTDs in the United States have reduced, it has been found that excessive intake of folic acid can increase the risk for cancer. For instance, postimplementation of folic acid fortification programs in Canada and U.S., an increase in incidence of colorectal cancer has been noticed. High intake of folate can result in deficiency of vitamin B12 among the geriatric populace. Thus, the upper limit for daily intake in male and female adults should not cross 1,000 mcg.
The worldwide folic acid market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.5% from 2016 to 2025; according to Grand View Research, Inc. Demand of folic acid tablets by pregnant women can spur market growth.
Pharmaceuticals were the largest market application in 2015. This can be attributed to the extensive demand of folic acid in tabular form to treat cardiovascular and urinary disorders. Asia Pacific led the global market in 2015 due to abundant supply of raw materials from China. Regions within APAC, such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, have introduced folic acid fortification in wheat and oil. This can help fight anemia. Some major market players are Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd.; Zydus Pharmaceuticals Ltd.; and BASF SE.
In-depth report on global folic acid market by Grand View Research: