Folate (Folic Acid): Importance, Recommended Intake, Food Sources, Deficiencies and Side Effects

Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that can be synthesized by bacteria or plants in the soil. Folate, also called vitamin B-9. It is important for the growth and development of the fetus. The vitamin has been known to help prevent birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly when taken before conception or during pregnancy.

Folic acid is also used to treat a deficiency or prevent low levels of folic acid caused by poor diet. Folate deficiency can cause anemia and neural tube defects in newborns. It can be found in many foods such as vegetables, grains, legumes, and fortified breakfast cereals.

This article explores the functions of folic acid in the body, some sources, the recommended intakes, and the effects of deficiency.

Why is Folic Acid Important?

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is used in the body to make new cells and red blood cells. It also helps in the production of DNA and RNA. This vitamin is found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and beans.

Folate is important to pregnant women because it helps support normal cell division and DNA synthesis during pregnancy. Folate also helps prevent anemia by donating one-carbon units during red blood cell production, which may be especially important for pregnant women who are iron-deficient.

Folic acid is a naturally occurring form of the B vitamin folate that helps prevent birth defects, such as neural tube defects and spina bifida, in the developing fetus. It is found in many foods but it is especially important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In the last few years, folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease by more than 40%. It also helps reduce depression symptoms by up to 50%.

Who Should Take Folic Acid?

Pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive should take folic acid. Women who are already pregnant should also take folic acid, especially if they have a family history of neural tube defects. It can also be taken by men if they have an increased risk of having a child with a neural tube defect or if their partner has a neural tube defect.

Folic acid is a vitamin that is essential for the development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord. It is important to make sure that you are taking folic acid before you conceive.

In addition, folic acid can be taken by anyone who is over 50 years old, as well as those who have had a blood transfusion or organ transplant.

Folic acid is safe for everyone and can be taken in pill form or as a liquid supplement.

Recommended Intake

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is necessary for the production of DNA and RNA. It also helps in the prevention of birth defects.

Folic acid is required for the production of DNA and RNA. It also helps in the prevention of birth defects. The recommended daily intake (RDI) ranges from 400 to 800 micrograms per day, depending on age, gender, and pregnancy status. Pregnant women should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day to reduce their risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect.

AgeRecommended amount
0–6 months65 mcg
7–12 months80 mcg
1–3 years150 mcg
4–8 years200 mcg
9–13 years300 mcg
14–18 years400 mcg
19+ years400 mcg

It is important to note that folic acid can interact with certain medications and may not be safe for everyone to take.

If you have any of the following: Epilepsy, Type 2 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, IBD, Celiac Disease or a Kidney Dialysis Machine then you may want to talk to your doctor before taking folic acid.

Food sources

Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps in the production of new cells and DNA. It is also an important part of the metabolism, which means that it helps with brain development, growth, and repair.

Folic acid can be found in many types of food such as:

These are all foods that are high in folate which also contains folic acid.

Folate Deficiency

Folate deficiency is a condition of insufficient folate intake in the diet. Folate deficiency can also occur when the body’s ability to absorb folate from food is impaired by gastrointestinal issues like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease.

Folic acid deficiency can lead to a condition called neural tube defects, which affect the brain and spinal cord. The most common type of neural tube defect is spina bifida, which results in incomplete closure of the vertebral column and defects in the spinal cord.

Folic acid deficiency can lead to Rheumatoid arthritis, which is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects joints and other tissues. Folic acid has been shown to be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis by reducing inflammation and joint pain.

Folate is an important nutrient that helps in the formation of DNA and red blood cells and also prevents cancer, heart disease, and birth defects.

Folate deficiency may lead to anemia and neurological damage if left untreated. There are many foods that are high in folate such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and oranges that we should consume on a daily basis to prevent this condition.

The lack of folate can lead to conditions like

  • Spina bifida
  • Neural tube defects
  • Anencephaly, and
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome.

Folate deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies. It can be caused by a number of factors such as inadequate intake or absorption from food sources or increased requirements for folate due to increased stress levels in the body.

Folate deficiency during pregnancy is a common nutritional problem that can cause serious health issues for the mother and her child.

The most common symptoms of folate deficiency are:

  • Anemia
  • Early term delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Developmental delay
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sores on the tongue and inside the mouth
  • Change in color of the skin, hair, or fingernails
  • Shortness of breath

Folate deficiency during pregnancy is a serious problem that can cause health problems for the mother and her child. It is one of the most common nutritional problems in pregnant women. It affects up to 20% of pregnant women in America and it is estimated that 5-10% of all children born in the US are born with this condition.

Side Effects of Folic Acid

Folic acid is a type of vitamin that is needed by the body to produce new cells.

Folic acid is known to have some side effects depending on how much you consume. Some of the side effects are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue.

If a person takes more folate than necessary, there is no cause for concern. Folic acid is water soluble, so any excess will naturally pass through the urine.


Folic acid is a B vitamin that is essential for the growth and development of fetuses. It helps in the formation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

Folate and folic acid both contain the same type of molecule called pteridine which is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division.

Most people get enough folate from their diet, but people at risk of deficiency and women who may become pregnant may need to take folic acid supplements.

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