Folic Acid

Folic Acid

Folic acid — what is it?

Folic acid is a B vitamin that dissolves in water. It’s an artificial form of the B vitamin folate.
Folate is an essential nutrient that you must consume because your body cannot produce it.

Folate is present in some foods in their natural form. Foods are fortified with folic acid. Folic acid is also available in supplement form.

Where do folate and folic acid differ from one another?
Both “folate” and “folic acid” refer to different forms of vitamin B9, despite their common use interchangeably.

Folic acid is structurally distinct from folate and thus has slightly different physiological effects. “Folate” is a catch-all term for all forms of vitamin B9, including folic acid and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. The synthetic form of folate is known as folic acid.

Folate is naturally present in a variety of plant and animal foods.

  1. spinach
  2. broccoli
  3. citrus fruits
  4. eggs
  5. Chicken livers

It’s also in dietary supplements, such as multivitamins

What functions does folate play in the body?
Your body uses folate to

make and repair DNA aids in cell growth, division, and function, and it also triggers the production of specific proteins that aid in the maturation of red blood cells.
Deficits in folic acid can result in a variety of health issues.

Caused by anaemia, a person is more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.

Lack of folate during pregnancy has been linked to neurological and behavioural problems in newborns.

Some grain products, including those sold in the United States, are fortified with folic acid as per government mandate in many nations.

Fortifying infants’ diets with folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects affecting the baby’s brain and spine



Folate, a B vitamin found in foods like leafy greens, eggs, and citrus fruits, is synthesised into folic acid. It plays a crucial role in maintaining health and functioning.

levels recommended for consumption

Dietary folate equivalents are used to express the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for folate (DFEs). This measurement takes into account the fact that your body absorbs folate from food sources differently than it does folic acid from fortified foods and supplements.

The body only absorbs about half as much folic acid from supplements as it does from natural folate.

Folate intake for adults should average 400 mcg DFE per day. A woman’s need for folic acid may increase while pregnant or breastfeeding. Recommended daily intake (RDA) during pregnancy is 600 mcg DFE

There are 15-30 milligrammes of folate in your body. Your liver stores the majority of this folate, while your blood and tissues store the rest.

Folate Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for infants, children, and adolescents is

From infancy (6 months) to infancy (birth): 65 mcg DFE: 80 mcg, Ages 7-12 Months 150 mcg DFE for Kids Ages 1-3 200 mcg DFE for ages 4-8 Dosage for DFE: 300 mcg, Ages 9-13 Diazepam (DFE) 400 mcg, Ages 14-18 DFE SUMMARY The recommended daily allowance (DFE) for adults is 400 mcg of folate.

Values and applications

Folate and folic acid, both, are used in supplementation. While both nutrients are effective in treating their respective conditions, they are metabolised differently and thus have different health effects.

The following are some of the most common applications and advantages of folic acid supplements.

Folate deficiency treatment
There are various causes of a folic acid deficiency. Folate deficiency could result from a number of different things.

  • Celiac disease, short bowel syndrome, and gastric bypass surgery are just some of the diseases and surgeries that can hinder your body’s Ability to absorb folate from the food you eat.
  • Medications that interfere with folate absorption, such as methotrexate and sulfasalazine, are not recommended for people with
  • achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria (Azulfadine)
  • Instability resulting from excessive alcohol consumption
  • pregnancy
  • Dialysis for Hemolytic Anemia
  • Consuming too little folate can cause complications Trusted Source such as anaemia, foetal development issues, mental impairment,
  • Impaired immune function, and depression. Supplemental folic acid or folate can increase levels and protect against these problems.

Protecting expecting mothers from health problems
Spina bifida and other neural tube defects can be avoided with the help of folic acid supplements. The risk of having a child born with a neural tube defect or spina bifida can be decreased by taking folic acid while pregnant.

Preeclampsia and other pregnancy complications can be avoided by taking a folic acid supplement, in addition to preventing problems with foetal development.

  1. Maintaining brain health
  2. Protecting Your Brain
  3. Reduced brain function and an increased risk of dementia have both been linked to low blood folate levels. There may be an association between having a low folate level and an increased risk of cognitive decline in the elderly, even if levels are technically normal.

Getting enough folate might also reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

In a 2019 study, researchers found that 180 adults with mild cognitive impairment who took folic acid supplements (400 mcg per day) for two years saw improvements in brain function measures and lower levels of proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

In another study, 121 patients with Alzheimer’s disease who had recently been diagnosed and were taking the drug donepezil were analysed (Aricept).

Compared to those who took Aricept alone, those who also took 1,250 mcg of folic acid daily for 6 months showed greater cognitive improvement and reduced inflammation.

Care for Psychological Disorders

The neurotransmitters in your brain can’t be made without folic acid. Consuming insufficient amounts of folate has been associated with an increased risk of developing mental health problems like depression and schizophrenia.

For instance, compared to those who don’t suffer from depression, those who do may have lower folate levels in their blood

The symptoms of mental health conditions like postpartum depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder may be alleviated by taking folic acid or folate supplements, according to a review of studies done in 2022.

It’s possible that depression could be alleviated more effectively with the help of antidepressant medication and folate supplements than with just antidepressant medication alone.

In addition to antipsychotic medication, a review of seven studies suggests that treatment with folate supplements may improve symptoms in people with schizophrenia more than antipsychotic medication alone.

Bigger, better studies are needed to confirm these results.

Lowering predisposing factors for cardiovascular disease

Supplements containing folates, such as folic acid, may benefit heart health and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

There is speculation that elevated levels of the amino acid homocysteine raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. Low levels of folate, also known as hyperhomocysteinemia, can be caused by a lack of this B vitamin because of its role in homocysteine breakdown.

Folic acid supplements have been shown to reduce homocysteine levels, thereby decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Supplementing with folic acid, for instance, has been linked to a 4% reduction in overall heart disease risk and a 10% reduction in stroke risk, according to a meta-analysis of 30 studies involving more than 80,000 participants.

Taking folic acid supplements in addition to antihypertensive medication may significantly lower blood pressure, even more so than either treatment alone. People with cardiovascular disease who take folic acid supplements may also experience improved blood vessel function.

Possible additional advantages

As an added bonus, taking a folic acid supplement might help with the following health issues as well:

Diabetes. Supplemental folate may help diabetics better control their blood sugar and have less insulin resistance. If your folate levels are low, you may need to take a supplement because the diabetes medication metformin can cause this.

Problems conceiving a child. Having enough folic acid in your diet can help your eggs develop and successfully implant in your uterus. Taking folate may improve fertility and the likelihood of carrying a pregnancy to term. Increased dietary folate intake may improve pregnancy rates in people who use assisted reproductive technology.

Inflammation. Numerous illnesses are linked to inflammation in some way. C-reactive protein and other inflammatory markers have been shown to be lowered by supplemental folic acid and folate.

Having issues with one’s kidneys. Normally, the kidneys remove waste products from the blood, but when they are damaged, homocysteine levels rise. A high homocysteine level is present in the blood of roughly 85 percent of those who suffer from chronic kidney disease. People with kidney disease may benefit from taking folic acid supplements in order to lower their homocysteine levels and thus reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

More extensive research is necessary to confirm the advantages of taking supplemental folate.

All of folic acid’s advantages aren’t listed here. People may take folate supplements for a variety of reasons.