L’acido folico è una vitamina del gruppo B, vitamina B9, che deve il suo nome al latino folium, foglia. Il nome deriva dallo studioso americano Mitchell che negli anni quaranta la estrasse dalle foglie degli spinaci.

Vitamina idrosolubile, importante per il benessere di tutti gli organismi viventi, uomo compreso. Svolge, infatti, molte funzioni essenziali. L’acido folico è utilizzato dall’organismo per la creazione di nuove cellule e partecipa alla produzione dell’emoglobina.

L’acido folico non può essere prodotto dall’organismo umano, ma deve essere introdotto quotidianamente attraverso un’alimentazione corretta e, se necessario, anche attraverso integratori di acido folico. Ogni persona dovrebbe assumere almeno 0,2-0,3 mg di acido folico al dì, per mantenersi in buona salute; il dosaggio per le donne in gravidanza va raddoppiato.

Alimenti ricchi di acido folico sono: verdure a foglia verde, uova, cereali e lievito di birra, fagioli e altri legumi, fegato. Purtroppo la conservazione e la cottura dei cibi riduce sensibilmente le quantità di acido folico presenti al loro interno. Il consumo eccessivo di alcool e fumo, così come alcune patologie, riducono la capacità di assorbimento dell’acido folico da parte del corpo.

Alle  persone anziane è consigliato il ricorso ad integratori, come ad alcolisti, ai celiaci e agli affetti dal Morbo di Crohn.

La differenza  tra folati e acido folico è che i primi sono una famiglia di sostanze presenti nei cibi, la cui struttura e a azione biologica è identica a quella della vitamina B9; pertanto sarebbe più corretto parlare di alimenti che contengono folati.

L’acido folico ha funzione immunitaria e quindi rende il corpo forte e meno esposto a malanni, incide su una riduzione della stanchezza fisica e mentale, mantiene regolare il tono dell’umore, favorisce il metabolismo dell’omocisteina, aiutando l’organismo  a mantenere corretti livelli di questa sostanza nel sangue. Inoltre, interagendo con la vitamina B12, interviene nel processo di emopiesi, ovvero nella formazione dei globuli rossi.


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