What is Folate and Folic acid? Folate occurs naturally in food, and is a water-soluble vitamin. Folic acid is the synthetic form that you can get from a supplement or find in fortified foods.
Why it is important: Women who are deficient in folate before or during pregnancy can have children with neural tube defects, low birth weight, or preterm delivery. Other conditions that might warrant a larger daily dose include individuals who abuse alcohol, individuals with mal-absorption, those on dialysis or those who suffer from liver disease and people with certain anemias. If you are taking anti-seizure medication, metformin (diabetes), barbiturate sedatives or take medications for Crohn's disease, you may also require extra supplementation.
How much does one need each day:
· Most women need 400 micrograms/day
· Pregnant women need 600 micrograms/day
· Lactating women need 500 micrograms/day
Foods that contain folate: You will mostly find folate in leafy greens like spinach and turnip greens, in citrus fruits, in dried beans and peas. It is currently also being added as folic acid to breads, cereals, flours, corn meals, pastas, rice and other grain products.