CAS Number: 59-30-3
Molecular Formula: C19H19N7O6
Formula Weight: 441.4
Folate and folic acid are forms of vitamin B9 used for deficiency and to prevent pregnancy complications.
Many foods contain folate or have folic acid added.
Since 1998, folic acid has been added to cold cereals, flour, breads, pasta, bakery items, cookies, and crackers, as required by federal law.
Foods that are naturally high in folate include leafy vegetables, okra, asparagus, certain fruits, beans, yeast, mushrooms, animal liver and kidney, orange juice, and tomato juice.
Folate, also called vitamin B-9, is a B vitamin that naturally occurs in certain foods.
Folic acid is the form of folate that manufacturers add to vitamin supplements and fortified foods.
Folic acid is a vitamin found in many foods and multivitamin supplements.
Folic acid's especially important for women who could become pregnant because folic acid can help prevent birth defects.
This article explores the functions of folic acid in the body, some sources, the recommended intakes, and the effects of deficiency.
Folic acid is also available as a supplement, and is often used in combination with other B vitamins.
Folic acid is used for preventing and treating low blood levels of folate (folate deficiency) and high blood levels of homocysteine (hyperhomocysteinemia).
People who are pregnant or might become pregnant take folic acid to prevent serious birth defects such as spina bifida.
Folic acid is also used for many other conditions including depression, stroke, decline in memory and thinking skills, and many others.
About folic acid
Beautiful woman holding pill and glass of water
Folic acid is a B vitamin.
Our bodies use it to make new cells.
Think about the skin, hair, and nails.
These–and other parts of the body – make new cells each day.
Folic acid is the synthetic (that is, not generally occurring naturally) form of folate used in supplements and in fortified foods such as rice, pasta, bread, and some breakfast cereals
Are folate and folic acid the same thing?
The terms “folate” and “folic acid” are often used interchangeably, even though they are different.
Folate is a general term to describe many different types of vitamin B9.
Types of folate can include
-5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate (5, 10-Methylene-THF)
-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-Methyl-THF or 5-MTHF)
Food fortification is a way to add vitamins or minerals, or both, to foods.
Some rice, pasta, bread, and breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid.
These foods are labeled “enriched.”
Folic acid is a specific type of folate that does not generally occur naturally.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which is a naturally occurring B vitamin.
Folate helps make DNA and other genetic material.
Folic acid is especially important in prenatal health.
What Is Folic Acid?
Folic acid (or folate) is a B vitamin (B9) found mostly in dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, legumes such as beans and peas, and enriched grains.
What Are the Benefits of Folic Acid?
Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should get at least 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folic acid daily before conception and for at least 3 months afterward.
Studies show that this greatly reduces a baby's risk of serious neural tube defects.
Folic acid is ideal to use for food fortification.
Folic acid is more stable than types of natural food folate.
Heat and light can easily break down types of natural food folate.
Folic acid is better suited for food fortification because many fortified products, such as bread and pasta, are cooked.6
CDC recommends that women of reproductive age who could become pregnant consume at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate every day.
However, Folic acid’s difficult to get 400 mcg of folate through diet alone.
You can get 400 mcg of folic acid each day by taking a vitamin with folic acid in Folic acid, eating fortified foods, or a combination of the two, in addition to consuming a balanced diet rich in natural food folate.
Folate is important for a range of functions in the body.
Folic acid helps the body make healthy new red blood cells, for example.
Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body.
If the body does not make enough of these, a person can develop anemia, leading to fatigue, weakness, and a pale complexion.
Without enough folate, a person can also develop a type of anemia called folate deficiency anemia.
Folate is also important for the synthesis and repair of DNA and other genetic material, and Folic acid is necessary for cells to divide.
Folic acid is particularly important to get enough folate during pregnancy.
Folate deficiency during pregnancy can lead to neural tube irregularities, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
Because of its importance for health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source require manufacturers to add folic acid to enriched bread, pasta, rice, cereals, and other grain products in the United States.
Since they introduced this, the number of babies born with neural tube irregularities has decreased.
The following list looks at some conditions that folic acid supplements could have an impact on:
"Folate" (vitamin B9) refers to the many forms of folic acid and its related compounds, including tetrahydrofolic acid (the active form), methyltetrahydrofolate (the primary form found in blood), methenyltetrahydrofolate, folinic acid, folacin, and pteroylglutamic acid.
Historic names included L. casei, factor vitamin Bc and vitamin M.
The terms "folate" and "folic acid" have somewhat different meanings in different contexts, although sometimes used interchangeably.
Within the field of organic chemistry, folate refers to the conjugate base of folic acid.
Within the field of biochemistry, folates refer to a class of biologically active compounds related to and including folic acid.
Within the field of nutrition, the "folates" are a family of essential nutrients related to folic acid obtained from natural sources whereas the term "folic acid" is reserved for the manufactured form that is used as a dietary supplement.
Chemically, folates consist of three distinct chemical moieties linked together.
A pterin (2-amino-4-hydroxy-pteridine) heterocyclic ring is linked by a methylene bridge to a p-aminobenzoyl group that in turn is bonded through an amide linkage to either glutamic acid or poly-glutamate.
One-carbon units in a variety of oxidation states may be attached to the N5 nitrogen atom of the pteridine ring and/or the N10 nitrogen atom of the p-aminobenzoyl group.
Folic acid is a B vitamin.
Folic acid helps the body make healthy new cells.
Everyone needs folic acid.
For women who may get pregnant, Folic acid is really important.
Getting enough folic acid before and during pregnancy can prevent major birth defects of her baby's brain or spine.
Foods with folic acid in them include
-Leafy green vegetables
-Dried beans, peas, and nuts
-Enriched breads, cereals and other grain products
What are folic acid and folate?
Folic acid is the man-made form of folate, a B vitamin.
Folate is found naturally in certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Folic acid is found in vitamins and fortified foods.
Folic acid and folate help the body make healthy new red blood cells.
Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the parts of your body.
If your body does not make enough red blood cells, you can develop anemia.
Anemia happens when your blood cannot carry enough oxygen to your body, which makes you pale, tired, or weak.
Also, if you do not get enough folic acid, you could develop a type of anemia called folate-deficiency anemia.
Neural tube irregularities
Taking folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy will help prevent neural tube irregularities in the fetus.
Folic acid may also reduce the risks of preterm birth, heart irregularities, and cleft palate, among other things.
The Office of Dietary SupplementsTrusted Source say that all women who could soon become pregnant should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily — from supplements or fortified foods — alongside the folate they get from their regular diet.
People with lower levels of folate may be more likely to experience depression.
However, taking folic acid supplements could make depression medications more effective.
Some research suggests that taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy could reduce the chance that the baby will have autism.
However, the study results are not conclusive, and more research will be necessary to determine the potential role of folic acid.
Doctors may use folic acid to support a methotrexate prescription for rheumatoid arthritis.
Methotrexate is an effective medication for this condition, but Folic acid may remove folate from the body, causing gastrointestinal symptoms.
Studies suggest that taking folic acid supplements could reduce these side effects by around 79%.
How much folic acid do women need?
All women need 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
Women who can get pregnant should get 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid from a vitamin or from food that has added folic acid, such as breakfast cereal.
This is in addition to the folate you get naturally from food.
Some women may need more folic acid each day.
See the chart to find out how much folic acid you need.
Folate, also known as vitamin B9 and folacin, is one of the B vitamins.
Manufactured folic acid, which is converted into folate by the body, is used as a dietary supplement and in food fortification as Folic acid is more stable during processing and storage.
Folate is required for the body to make DNA and RNA and metabolise amino acids necessary for cell division.
As humans cannot make folate, Folic acid is required in the diet, making Folic acid an essential nutrient.
Folic acid occurs naturally in many foods.
The recommended adult daily intake of folate in the U.S. is 400 micrograms from foods or dietary supplements.
Folate in the form of folic acid is used to treat anemia caused by folate deficiency.
Folic acid is also used as a supplement by women during pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the baby.
Low levels in early pregnancy are believed to be the cause of more than half of babies born with NTDs.
More than 80 countries use either mandatory or voluntary fortification of certain foods with folic acid as a measure to decrease the rate of NTDs.
Long-term supplementation with relatively large amounts of folic acid is associated with small reduction in the risk of stroke and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
There are concerns that large amounts of supplemental folic acid can hide vitamin B12 deficiency.
Not consuming enough folate can lead to folate deficiency.
This may result in a type of anemia in which red blood cells become abnormally large.
Symptoms may include feeling tired, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, open sores on the tongue, and changes in the color of the skin or hair.
Folate deficiency in children may develop within a month of poor dietary intake.
In adults, normal total body folate is between 10 and 30 mg with blood levels of greater than 7 nmol/L (3 ng/mL).
Folate was discovered between 1931 and 1943.
Folic acid is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.
The term "folic" is from the Latin word folium (which means leaf) because Folic acid was found in dark-green leafy vegetables.
Who should take folic acid?
Most people get enough folate from their diet, and folate deficiency is rare Trusted Sourcein the United States.
That being said, official guidelines recommend that all pregnant women and women who might become pregnant take folic acid.
This is because folic acid is crucial for early fetal development.
The spinal cord is one of the first parts of the body to form, and folate deficiency can lead to spinal cord irregularities.
Why folic acid is important before and during pregnancy
When the baby is developing early during pregnancy, folic acid helps form the neural tube.
Folic acid is very important because Folic acid can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida).
Sources of Folic acid:
Folic acid is present in dietary supplements and fortified foods, including breads, flours, cereals, and grains.
Folic acid is also a common addition to B-complex vitamins.
How do I get folic acid?
You can get folic acid in two ways.
Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9, water-soluble and naturally found in many foods.
Folic acid is also added to foods and sold as a supplement in the form of folic acid; this form is actually better absorbed than that from food sources—85% vs. 50%, respectively.
Folate helps to form DNA and RNA and is involved in protein metabolism.
Folic acid plays a key role in breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that can exert harmful effects in the body if Folic acid is present in high amounts.
Folate is also needed to produce healthy red blood cells and is critical during periods of rapid growth, such as during pregnancy and fetal development.
Through the foods you eat.
Folate is found naturally in some foods, including spinach, nuts, and beans.
Folic acid is found in fortified foods (called "enriched foods"), such as breads, pastas, and cereals.
Look for the term "enriched" on the ingredients list to find out whether the food has added folic acid.
As a vitamin.
Most multivitamins sold in the United States contain 400 micrograms, or 100% of the daily value, of folic acid.
Check the label to make sure.
How Can I Get Enough Folic Acid?
How can women of childbearing age — and especially those who are planning a pregnancy — get enough folic acid every day?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food-makers to add folic acid to their enriched grain products.
So you can boost your intake by eating breakfast cereals, breads, pastas, and rice that have 100% of the recommended daily folic acid allowance.
Check the product's label for this information.
But for most women, eating fortified foods isn't enough.
To reach the recommended daily level, you'll probably need a vitamin supplement.
During pregnancy, you need more of all of the essential nutrients than you did before you became pregnant.
Prenatal vitamins shouldn't replace a well-balanced diet.
But taking them can give your body — and your baby — an added boost of vitamins and minerals.
Some health care providers recommend taking a folic acid supplement in addition to a prenatal vitamin.
Talk to your doctor about your daily folic acid intake.
He or she might recommend a prescription supplement, an over-the-counter brand, or both.
Also talk to your doctor if you've already had a pregnancy that was affected by a neural tube defect or if you or your partner were affected by one yourselves.
The doctor may recommend that you take a higher dose of folic acid (even before getting pregnant)
Many foods are naturally high in folate.
The best sources include
-canned tomato juice
-fresh orange and grapefruit
What is folic acid?
Folic acid is a vitamin that every cell in your body needs for healthy growth and development.
If you take it before pregnancy and during early pregnancy, Folic acid can help protect your baby from birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects.
The neural tube is the part of a developing baby that becomes the brain and spinal cord.
NTDs happen in the first month of pregnancy, before you may know that you’re pregnant.
This is why Folic acid’s important to have enough folic acid in your body before you get pregnant.
NTDs affect about 3,000 pregnancies each year in the United States.
If all women take 400 micrograms (also called mcg) of folic acid every day before getting pregnant and during early pregnancy, it may help prevent up to 7 in 10 (70 percent) NTDs.
Because nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, all women who can get pregnant should take folic acid every day.
Some studies show that folic acid also may help prevent birth defects in a baby’s mouth called cleft lip and palate.
A cleft lip is a birth defect in which a baby’s upper lip doesn’t form completely and has an opening in it.
Why do women need folic acid?
Everyone needs folic acid to be healthy.
But Folic acid is especially important for women:
Before and during pregnancy.
Folic acid protects unborn children against serious birth defects called neural tube defects.
These birth defects happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she is pregnant.
Folic acid might also help prevent other types of birth defects and early pregnancy loss (miscarriage).
Since about half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned1, experts recommend all women get enough folic acid even if you are not trying to get pregnant.
To keep the blood healthy by helping red blood cells form and grow.
Not getting enough folic acid can lead to a type of anemia called folate-deficiency anemia.
Folate-deficiency anemia is more common in women of childbearing age than in men.
Folate (vitamin B-9) is important in red blood cell formation and for healthy cell growth and function.
The nutrient is crucial during early pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine.
Folate is found mainly in dark green leafy vegetables, beans, peas and nuts.
Fruits rich in folate include oranges, lemons, bananas, melons and strawberries.
The synthetic form of folate is folic acid.
Folic acid's in an essential component of prenatal vitamins and is in many fortified foods such as cereals and pastas.
A diet lacking foods rich in folate or folic acid can lead to a folate deficiency.
Folate deficiency can also occur in people who have conditions, such as celiac disease, that prevent the small intestine from absorbing nutrients from foods (malabsorption syndromes).
The recommended daily amount of folate for adults is 400 micrograms (mcg).
Adult women who are planning pregnancy or could become pregnant should be advised to get 400 to 1,000 mcg of folic acid a day.
How can you get enough folic acid?
There are several ways to get enough folic acid:
-Taking a vitamin that has folic acid in it
-Eating foods with folate from a varied diet
-Eating fortified foods
-Getting a combination of the two: taking a vitamin that has folic acid in Folic acid and eating fortified foods
Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health.
Folic acid aids in the production of DNA and RNA, the body's genetic material, and is especially important when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, such as in infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy.
Folic acid also works closely with vitamin B12 to help make red blood cells and help iron work properly in the body.
Vitamin B9 works with vitamins B6 and B12 and other nutrients to control blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine.
High levels of homocysteine are associated with heart disease, however researchers are not sure whether homocysteine is a cause of heart disease or just a marker that indicates someone may have heart disease.
How should I use folic acid?
Take folic acid exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Do not take Folic acid in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.
Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Folic acid oral is taken by mouth.
Folic acid injection is given into a muscle, under the skin, or into a vein.
A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
Take folic acid tablets with a full glass of water.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.
Store folic acid at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Folic acid is a form of folate (a B vitamin) that everyone needs.
If you can get pregnant or are pregnant, folic acid is especially important.
Folic acid protects unborn babies against serious birth defects.
You can get folic acid from vitamins and fortified foods, such as breads, pastas and cereals.
Folate is found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, oranges, and beans.
What foods contain folate?
Folate is found naturally in some foods.
Foods that are naturally high in folate include:
Spinach and other dark green, leafy vegetables
Oranges and orange juice
Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.) and meat
Folic acid has FDA-approval for the treatment of megaloblastic and macrocytic anemias due to folic deficiency.
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin used in the management and treatment of megaloblastic anemia.
This activity describes the indications, mechanism of action, and contraindications for folic acid as a valuable agent in the management of megaloblastic anemia and the prevention of other disorders.
This activity will highlight the adverse event profile and other key factors (e.g., off-label uses, dosing, monitoring, relevant interactions) pertinent for healthcare teams dealing with conditions that can benefit from folic acid.
What foods contain folic acid?
Folic acid is added to foods that are refined or processed (not whole grain):
-Breakfast cereals (Some have 100% of the recommended daily value — or 400 micrograms — of folic acid in each serving.)
-Breads and pasta
Since 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required food manufacturers to add folic acid to processed breads, cereals, flours, cornmeal, pastas, rice, and other grains.
For other foods, check the Nutrition Facts label on the package to see if Folic acid has folic acid.
The label will also tell you how much folic acid is in each serving.
Sometimes, the label will say "folate" instead of folic acid.
How can I be sure I get enough folic acid?
You can get enough folic acid from food alone.
Many breakfast cereals have 100% of your recommended daily value (400 micrograms) of folic acid.
If you are at risk for not getting enough folic acid, your doctor or nurse may recommend that you take a vitamin with folic acid every day.
Most U.S. multivitamins have at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.
Check the label on the bottle to be sure.
You can also take a pill that contains only folic acid.
If swallowing pills is hard for you, try a chewable or liquid product with folic acid.
About folic acid
Folic acid is the man-made version of the vitamin folate (also known as vitamin B9).
Folate helps the body make healthy red blood cells and is found in certain foods.
Folic acid is used to:
-treat or prevent folate deficiency anaemia
-help your unborn baby's brain, skull and spinal cord develop properly to avoid development problems (called neural tube defects) such as spina bifida
-help reduce side effects from methotrexate, a medicine used to treat severe arthritis, Crohn's disease or psoriasis
-Folic acid is available on prescription and comes as tablets or as a liquid you swallow.
Folic acid can also be combined with:
-ferrous fumarate and ferrous sulphate (to treat iron deficiency anaemia)
-other vitamins and minerals (as a multivitamin and mineral supplement)
You usually take folic acid once a day, but sometimes you only need to take Folic acid once a week.
Most adults and children can take folic acid.
If you're pregnant or trying for a baby, Folic acid's recommended you take folic acid until you're 12 weeks pregnant.
Folic acid helps your baby grow normally.
You're unlikely to get side effects with folic acid, but some people feel sick, lose their appetite, get wind or feel bloated.
These side effects are usually mild and do not last long.
Folic acid is also called by the brand names Preconceive and Lexpex.
Who can and can't take folic acid
Most adults and children can take folic acid.
Folic acid's not suitable for everyone.
To make sure Folic acid's safe for you, tell your doctor before starting folic acid if you:
have had an allergic reaction to folic acid or any other medicine in the past
have low vitamin B12 levels (vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia) or pernicious anaemia
have cancer (unless you also have folate deficiency anaemia)
are having a type of kidney dialysis called haemodialysis
have a stent in your heart
How and when to take Folic acid
If you or your child have been prescribed folic acid, follow your doctor's instructions about how and when to take it.
If you have bought folic acid from a pharmacy or shop, follow the instructions that come with the packet.
How much will I take Folic acid?
How much you take depends on why you need folic acid.
Before and during early pregnancy
The usual dose for most women trying to get pregnant and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is 400 micrograms, taken once a day.
If there's a higher risk of neural tube defects during your pregnancy, your doctor will recommended a higher dose of 5mg, taken once a day.
Folate deficiency anaemia
To treat anaemia, the usual dose for adults and children over 1 year old is 5mg, taken once a day, for 4 months.
Sometimes the dose may be increased to 15mg a day.
If your child is under 12 months old, the doctor will use your child's weight to work out the right dose.
To prevent anaemia, the usual dose for adults and children over 12 years old is 5mg, taken every 1 to 7 days.
This depends on your age, diet and any other health conditions you may have.
For children less than 12 years old, the doctor will use your child's age or weight to work out the right dose.
If you're taking methotrexate
The usual dose for adults and children is 5mg once a week, on a different day of the week to your methotrexate.
Some people take 1mg to 5mg once a day, apart from the day when they have their methotrexate.
Folic acid was initially distinguished from vitamin B12 as a dietary anti-anemia factor by Wills in the 1930s.
The subsequent chemical isolation of folic acid and the identification of its role as a cofactor in one-carbon metabolism led to the elucidation of deficiency diseases at the molecular level.
The term ‘folate’ encompasses the entire group of folate vitamin forms, comprising the naturally occurring folylpolyglutamates found in food and folic acid (pteroylglutamic acid), the synthetic form of the vitamin added as a dietary supplement to foodstuffs.
‘Folate’ is thus the general term used for any form of the vitamin irrespective of the state of reduction, type of substitution, or degree of polyglutamylation.
How to take Folic acid
You can take folic acid with or without food.
Swallow the tablets whole with a drink.
If you're taking folic acid as a liquid, Folic acid'll come with a plastic syringe or spoon to help you measure out the right dose.
If you do not have one, ask your pharmacist for one.
Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as Folic acid will not give you the right amount.
Will my dose go up or down?
Usually your dose will stay the same.
Your dose may go up, however, if you're taking folic acid to prevent or treat anaemia and blood tests show Folic acid's not working properly.
What if I forget to take Folic acid?
Missing 1 or 2 doses probably will not matter.
But if you keep forgetting to take your folic acid, or you do not want to take Folic acid, speak to your doctor.
If you stop taking your folic acid:
in pregnancy - the risk of your baby having neural tube defects may increase
for folate deficiency anaemia - your symptoms may get worse or new symptoms may appear
to reduce the side effects of methotrexate - you'll be more likely to get side effects from methotrexate
If you forget to take folic acid:
once a day - take your missed dose as soon as you remember.
If Folic acid's nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose as normal.
If you remember on the day you take your methotrexate, wait a day and take your missed dose the following day.
once a week - take your missed dose as soon as you remember, unless you take methotrexate that day.
If you remember on the day you take your methotrexate, wait a day and take your missed dose the following day.
After this, go back to taking your weekly dose on your usual day.
What is oral folic acid? How is oral folic acid used?
Folic acid and folate are water-soluble forms of vitamin B9 that is naturally found in many of the foods we eat.
Folate occurs naturally in food while folic acid is the man-made form of this important vitamin.
Common dietary sources of folate include
-green leafy vegetables,
-fruits and fruit juices,
-beef kidney, and
Additionally, folic acid is added to many food products (fortified) and is available as a dietary supplement.
Folic acid is an important vitamin that is needed for the proper development of the human body.
Folic acid is needed to make DNA and other genetic material and for the synthesis of red blood cells.
Folic acid deficiency can cause megaloblastic anemia, a red blood cell disorder that can cause symptoms of weakness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, irritability, headache, abnormal heartbeats, and shortness of breath.
Folic acid is necessary for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Therefore, folic acid deficiency may cause sores in the mouth, and changes in the color of the skin, hair, or fingernails.
Additionally, maintaining healthy levels of folic acid during pregnancy is very important.
Pregnant women who do not get enough folic acid are at risk of giving birth to babies with neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
Folic acid deficiency during pregnancy may also increase the likelihood of having a premature delivery or a low weight baby.
What is folic acid?
Folic acid is a form of vitamin B9, also known as folate.
When the nutrient comes directly from food sources, Folic acid's called folate.
When Folic acid's manufactured for use as a supplement or to fortify foods, Folic acid's called folic acid.
This vitamin helps prevent certain birth defects.
Essential for the production, repair, and functioning of DNA – our genetic map and a basic building block of cells – Folic acid's crucial to the rapid cell growth of the placenta and your developing baby.
Your body also needs folic acid to make normal red blood cells and prevent a type of anemia (folate-deficiency anemia).
Never take 2 doses to make up for a forgotten one.
If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you.
You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
What if I take too much?
Folic acid is generally very safe.
Taking too much is unlikely to harm you or your child.
If you're worried, speak to your pharmacist or doctor.
Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement.
“Folate,” formerly known as “folacin” and sometimes “vitamin B9,” is the generic term for naturally occurring food folates, and folates in dietary supplements and fortified foods, including folic acid.
Food folates are in the tetrahydrofolate (THF) form and usually have additional glutamate residues, making them polyglutamates.
Folic acid is the fully oxidized monoglutamate form of the vitamin that is used in fortified foods and most dietary supplements.
Some dietary supplements also contain folate in the monoglutamyl form, 5-methyl-THF (also known as L-5- MTHF, 5-MTHF, L-methylfolate, and methylfolate).
Folate functions as a coenzyme or cosubstrate in single-carbon transfers in the synthesis of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and metabolism of amino acids.
One of the most important folate-dependent reactions is the conversion of homocysteine to methionine in the synthesis of S-adenosyl-methionine, an important methyl donor.
Another folate-dependent reaction, the methylation of deoxyuridylate to thymidylate in the formation of DNA, is required for proper cell division.
An impairment of this reaction initiates a process that can lead to megaloblastic anemia, one of the hallmarks of folate deficiency.
When consumed, food folates are hydrolyzed to the monoglutamate form in the gut prior to absorption by active transport across the intestinal mucosa.
Passive diffusion also occurs when pharmacological doses of folic acid are consumed.
Before entering the bloodstream, the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase reduces the monoglutamate form to THF and converts Folic acid to either methyl or formyl forms.
The main form of folate in plasma is 5-methyl-THF.
The activity of dihydrofolate reductase varies greatly among individuals.
When the capacity of dihydrofolate reductase is exceeded, unmetabolized folic acid can be present in the blood.
Whether unmetabolized folic acid has any biological activity or can be used as a biomarker of folate status is not known.
Folate is also synthesized by colonic microbiota and can be absorbed across the colon, although the extent to which colonic folate contributes to folate status is unclear.
The total body content of folate is estimated to be 15 to 30 mg; about half of this amount is stored in the liver and the remainder in blood and body tissues.
Serum folate concentrations are commonly used to assess folate status; a value above 3 ng/mL indicates adequacy.
This indicator, however, is sensitive to recent dietary intake, so Folic acid might not reflect long-term status.
Erythrocyte folate concentrations provide a longer-term measure of folate intakes; a concentration above 140 ng/mL indicates adequate folate status.
A combination of serum or erythrocyte folate concentration and indicators of metabolic function can also be used to assess folate status.
Plasma homocysteine concentration is a commonly used functional indicator of folate status because homocysteine levels rise when the body cannot convert homocysteine to methionine due to a 5-MTHF deficiency.
Homocysteine levels, however, are not a highly specific indicator of folate status because they can be influenced by other factors, including kidney dysfunction and deficiencies of vitamin B12 and other micronutrients.
The most commonly used cutoff value for elevated homocysteine levels is 16 micromol/L, although slightly lower values of 12 to 14 micromol/L have also been used.
A homocysteine cutoff of 10 micromol/L has been proposed for assessing folate status in populations.
What is folic acid?
Folic acid is a B-vitamin often lacking in women’s diets.
When consumed in adequate amounts by women before and during pregnancy, folic acid reduces the risk of serious birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects.
Many other pregnancies affected by neural tube defects end in miscarriage or stillbirth.
Why is Folic acid important to take folic acid every day?
Folic acid is required for the production of DNA, which is necessary for the rapid cell growth needed to make fetal tissues and organs early in pregnancy.
To prevent neural tube defects, Folic acid is important for a woman to have enough folic acid in her body both before and duringpregnancy.
Neural tube defects occur during the first month of pregnancy, before most women know they are pregnant.
Since half of all pregnancies are unplanned, Folic acid is important for all women of childbearing age to make taking folic acid part of their daily routine.
Folic acid is one of the B vitamins your body needs for good health.
The vitamin is also called folate.
Folate is the natural form of this vitamin.
Folic acid's found in leafy green vegetables, oranges, nuts, and beans.
Folic acid is the man-made form.
Folic acid's put into vitamin pills and fortified foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals.
What foods contain folic acid?
Foods rich in folic acid include fortified breakfast cereals; enriched breads, pastas, and grains; dried beans and peas; orange juice, oranges, cantaloupe, avocados, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, lima beans, nuts and peanut butter.
Although folic acid is found in many foods, Folic acid is difficult to get enough of the vitamin from food alone.
The body absorbs folic acid in multivitamins more easily than the form of the vitamin found naturally in food.
For women who have difficulty taking pills, some cereals are fortified with 100% of the recommended daily amount of folicacid.
When should I start taking folic acid?
You should start taking folic acid prior to getting pregnant even if you are not trying to conceive.
Neural tube defects usually develop in the first 28 days of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows that she is pregnant.
If you find you are pregnant and have not been taking folic acid, you should start now to help prevent any neural defects in the first three months of pregnancy
How much folic acid do you need?
Many women do not consume the amount of folic acid recommended to prevent neural tube defects.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that all women of childbearing age take a multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid every day along with eating a varied, healthy diet.
Women who have already had a baby with a neural tube defect should consult their doctors for advice about how much folic acid is right for them.
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin.
Folic acid is the supplemental form of folate, also called vitamin B-9.
Folic acid is an important part of cell division and in making cells in some organs and bone marrow.
Folic acid also helps a baby's spinal cord to grow and develop in the womb.
Like the other B vitamins, folic acid helps make energy in your body.
The body converts folic acid to tetrahydrofolic acid.
Folic acid is an important part of cell division.
Folic acid helps make nucleic acid (DNA and RNA).
Folic acid deficiency causes some red blood cells to be larger than normal.
This is called macrocytic anemia.
This also causes other problems in white and red blood cells.
Medically valid uses
Folic acid is used to prevent or treat folic acid deficiencies.
Folic acid can reduce the risk of neural tube defects (spina bifida) in newborn babies.
For this reason, women of childbearing age should take at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily.
Folic acid should be taken every day.
Start at least 1 month before trying to get pregnant.
Studies suggest that taking folic acid alone or with other B-vitamins reduces the risk for stroke.
There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.
Folic acid may help treat uterine cervical dysplasia.
Folic acid may also boost the immune system and help treat depression.
Folic acid supplements haven’t been shown to affect heart disease.
Folic acid, also called pteroylglutamic acid, folate, or folacin, water-soluble vitamin of the B complex that is essential in animals and plants for the synthesis of nucleic acids.
Folic acid was isolated from liver cells in 1943.
The vitamin has a wide variety of sources in the human diet, including leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, cereals, beans, poultry, and egg yolks.
A deficient intake of folic acid can impair the formation of red blood cells, resulting in folic acid deficiency anemia.
Folic acid deficiency anemia may be a result of malabsorption disorders such as celiac disease and tropical sprue.
Pregnant women with an insufficient intake of folic acid are more likely to give birth prematurely or to deliver babies with low birth weight or with neural tube defects.
The sulfa drugs achieve their antimicrobial effects by interfering with the production of folic acid within bacteria.
What are vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies?
Vitamin B12 and folate are two B complex vitamins that the body needs for several important functions.
They are required to make normal red blood cells, white blood cells, repair tissues and cells, and synthesize DNA.
B12 is also important for normal nerve cell function.
B12 and folate (also known as folic acid or vitamin B9) are nutrients that cannot be produced in the body and must be supplied by the diet.
A healthy body typically has enough vitamin B12 stored to last three to five years but does not store a significant amount of folate.
A B12 and/or folate deficiency reflects a chronic shortage of one or both of these vitamins.
In the U.S., B12 and folate deficiencies are not common in healthy adults because the body can store sufficient amounts for a period of time.
Most adults eat enough foods that contain or are supplemented with these vitamins to meet their daily requirements.
There are, however, people at risk of deficiency, such as:
People with intestinal conditions that prevent them from absorbing enough of the vitamins
Heavy alcohol drinkers
Vegetarians and vegans
Pregnant women, who need increased amounts of these vitamins
People with long-term use of certain medications
The prevalence of a B12 deficiency in people under age 60 is estimated to be about 6% in the U.S. and United Kingdom and nearly 20% in people over age 60.
B12 and folate deficiencies and their associated signs and symptoms can take months to years to manifest in adults.
Infants and children will show signs of deficiency more rapidly because they have not yet had time to store sufficient amounts.
Over time, a deficiency in either B12 or folate can lead to a condition in which red blood cells are enlarged (macrocytic anemia).
This production of fewer but larger red blood cells decreases the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.
People with anemia may be weak, light-headed, and short of breath.
Megaloblastic anemia, a type of macrocytic anemia, is characterized by the production of fewer but larger RBCs in addition to some cellular changes in the bone marrow.
Other laboratory findings associated with megaloblastic anemia include decreased white blood cell (WBC) count, red blood cell (RBC) count, reticulocyte count, and platelet count.
A deficiency in B12 can also result in varying degrees of neuropathy or nerve damage that can cause tingling and numbness in the person’s hands and/or feet.
In severe cases, mental changes that range from confusion and irritability to dementia may occur.
Pregnant women need increased folate for proper fetal development because of the added stress of rapidly growing fetal cells.
A folate deficiency during pregnancy, especially in the early weeks when a woman might not know she is pregnant, may lead to premature birth and neural tube birth defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida in the child.
To help prevent NTDs, the Food and Drug Administration mandated increased folate supplementation of grain products a number of years ago, which led to about a 50% decrease in neural tube defects in the U.S.
Even so, Folic acid can be difficult sometimes to get enough folate from foods, so Folic acid is recommended that all women who may become pregnant take 400 micrograms of folate every day.
Folic acid, along with vitamin B12, is important for formation of red blood cells.
Lack of these two vital nutrients leads to variety of anemia called macrocytic anemia.
This means the red blood cells appear bloated and large and have a reduced capacity to carry oxygen.
Folate along with other B vitamins are also vital for nerve function.
Folate is essential for the formation of DNA (genetic material) within every body cell.
This allows normal replication of cells.
Biochemically folates act as chemicals that medicate one-carbon transfer reactions.
These are important for formation of purines and pyrimidines.
These purines and pyrimidines form basic building blocks for DNA.
Folate is a B-complex vitamin found naturally in fruits and vegetables.
The word folate is derived from the Latin word "folium," which means leaf, so, as you would expect from the name, folate is found in leafy vegetables like spinach.
Dry beans, asparagus, avocado, strawberries, papaya, corn, broccoli, and citrus fruits are also good sources.
Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate made from bacteria.
Folic acid's found in dietary supplements, and Folic acid's used to enrich or fortify some processed foods such as bread, cereal, and some brands of orange juice.
Folate and folic acid are similar in structure, but your body absorbs folic acid better than folate.
Folic acid, tested according to Ph.Eur.
Folic acid, meets USP testing specifications
Folic acid (JP17/USP/INN)
Folic acid, Cell Culture Reagent
Folic acid, USP grade
Folic acid, >=97%
Folic acid, analytical standard
Kyselina listova [Czech]
Acide folique [INN-French]
Acido folico [INN-Spanish]
Acidum folicum [INN-Latin]
Liver Lactobacillus casei factor
Glutamic acid, pteroyl-, l-
Glutamic acid, N-(p-(((2-amino-4-hydroxypyrimido(4,5-b)pyrazin-6-yl)methyl)amino)benzoyl)-, L
59-30-3 (free acid)
Glutamic acid, N-(p-(((2-amino-4-hydroxy-6-pteridinyl)methyl)amino)benzoyl)-, l-
L-Glutamic acid, N-(4-((2-amino-1,4-dihydro-4-oxo-6-pteridinyl)methyl)amino)benzoyl)-
Dosfolat B activ
L-Glutamic acid, N-(4-(((2-amino-1,4-dihydro-4-oxo-6-pteridinyl)methyl)amino)benzo- yl)-
L-Glutamic acid, N-(4-(((2-amino-3,4-dihydro-4-oxo-6-pteridinyl)methyl)amino)benzoyl)-
N-(4-(((2-Amino-1,4-dihydro-4-oxo-6-pteridinyl)methyl)amino)benzo- yl)-L-glutamic acid
Folic acid, 96-102%, pure
L-Glutamic acid, N-(4-(((2-amino-1,4-dihydro-4-oxo-6-pteridinyl)methyl)amino)benzoyl)-
Folic acid, Vetec(TM) reagent grade, >=97%
Folic acid, British Pharmacopoeia (BP) Reference Standard
Folic acid, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard
Folic acid, United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Reference Standard
Folic acid, Pharmaceutical Secondary Standard; Certified Reference Material
L-glutamic acid, N-[4-[[(2-amino-4,8-dihydro-4-oxo-6-pteridinyl)methyl]amino]benzoyl]-
Folic acid, BioReagent, suitable for cell culture, suitable for insect cell culture, suitable for plant cell culture, >=97%
Folic acid [BAN:INN:JAN]
L-Glutamic acid, N-[4-[[(2-amino-3,4-dihydro-4-oxo-6-pteridinyl)methyl]amino]benzoyl]-
Folic acid [USP:INN:BAN:JAN]
Folic Acid USP/BP
Folic acid, crystalline