Fluorine is an element that is most abundantly found in nature. Being highly reactive it is only found in a combined form and not in elemental gaseous form. Fluorine is very essential for our body as it maintains the proper mineralization of the bones and helps to form the enamel of our teeth. A major part of the element, about 96 percent, is found in the bones and teeth of the human body.
Drinking water is the main source of fluorine for humans. The level of fluorine in drinking water varies from 0.5 mg/L to 2 mg /L. In the fluorosis-endemic areas, the level may be as high as 3 mg/L to 12 mg/L. Many foods also contain trace amounts of fluorine. But a few foods like sea fish, tea, and cheese have a rich content of fluorine in them.
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Dietary deficiency/ excess
Proper balance of fluorine intake is very necessary as it is like a two-edged sword. The deficiency of fluorine can cause dental caries, in excess of the daily recommended dose of fluorine may lead to a condition of the bones and teeth called fluorosis. However, fluoride is the most effective means that can prevent dental caries in humans.
In the areas where water intake is more the recommended level of fluorine in water is 0.5 to 0.8 mg/L. In temperate climates, the accepted level is 1 to 2 mg/L, as the water intake is low in these areas.
Folates (Folic acid)
The pharmaceutical preparation of folates is called folic acid. It is alternatively known as folacin. Folic acid plays a vital role in the production of nucleic acid which makes the chromosome. It is also required by the body to help in the development of blood cells in bone marrow. Folates are found in two different forms in foods, they are free folates and bound folates. The free folates are easily absorbed in the body from the small intestine while regarding the availability of the bound folates, is uncertain.
The name is derived from the Latin ‘folia’ meaning leaf, so the leafy vegetables are obviously a rich source of folates. However, other sources like meat, liver, eggs, milk and other dairy products, cereals, and fruits are equally good sources of it.
Overcooking generally destroys folates present in the foods leading to folate deficiency. It can also occur from a poor diet intake. During pregnancy and lactation, the requirement increases and can cause megaloblastic anemia, glossitis, cheilosis, and some other disorders like diarrhea, flatulence, and distension. Severe folate deficiency can cause infertility, abortions, and birth defects in the fetus.
Body storage of folates is not large. It is required largely in growing children and during pregnancy. It reduces the chance of low birth weight babies. Daily recommended doses are
|Normal adults||100 mcg|