View random article

What Is Folate?

Folate is a component of some foods that is considered a natural source of vitamin B9.

Folate is most often found in leafy green vegetables, dried beans and peas. Folic acid is the correct term for folate that is taken in the form of an additive to certain foods like breads or cereals, or as a foot supplement. Folate is considered one of the more important vitamins and is quite crucial for women who are within the reproductive phase of their life, that is, if they are planning to get pregnant, already pregnant, or nursing a baby.

Folate has many important effects on the body. For example, the production and division of new cells in the body are facilitated by folate. It is also a crucial factor in the production of both DNA and RNA. Folate is also a vitamin that helps prevent certain disorders in the body. For example, it prevents certain types of anemia. There is also suggestion that it can help in preventing cancer. Its most important benefit though is in pregnancy. Based on studies, folate can significantly lessen the occurrence of certain birth defects, in particular, neural tube defects. It is strongly encouraged the women who are planning to get pregnant should immediately start taking folate supplements a couple of months before they plan on conceiving. They should then continue to take the folate supplement all through the pregnancy and while nursing their babies.

Folate, not like other vitamins, is taken in very small microgram doses. Usually vitamins are taken in milligram doses. The RDA or recommended daily allowance of folate for adults is 400 micrograms.

Featured in Health