Folic acid or vitamin B9 is a water-soluble vitamin. Together with the other nine vitamins of the B complex, it acts as a coenzyme for cellular enzymes that are involved in energy metabolism and tissue synthesis.
A coenzyme is a necessary molecule so that, together with an enzyme, a specific reaction can take place, therefore, a correct contribution is very important to carry out certain metabolic processes of vital relevance.
These are the functions of folic acid
Folic acid is, specifically, essential for growth, cell maintenance, and the formation of blood cells. It is necessary for the synthesis of the nucleic acids DNA and RNA, and also for proper protein metabolism, reproductive processes, and red blood cell formation.
What happens to the dog in case of folic acid deficiency?
In case of deficiency, there will be an inability to produce DNA, with which there is a decrease in cell growth and maturation. Clinically we will see the appearance of leukopenia, or white blood cell deficiency, and anemia.
Vitamin B9 helps prevent malformations in fetuses, such as spina bifida or cleft palate. Hence, its correct contribution during pregnancy is especially important.
It is stored in the liver, and since it is destroyed every day by cellular catabolism, its levels drop rapidly if the diet is deficient. In dogs with chronic kidney disease or exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, folic acid levels also drop dangerously. Certain drugs or diseases of the small intestine can decrease its absorption.
As we can see, folic acid performs important functions in the body and it is essential to manage an adequate intake through a balanced diet. In the same way that we must take care that its supply is sufficient, we must avoid inadequate supplementation, as this can lead to lower absorption of other vitamins such as B12. Once again, feeding a balanced and quality diet is more than enough to preserve the health of our animals.