Folic Acid is a vitamin that is also known as Vitamin B9 and Folate. It is strongly believed that it can improve health and nutrition.  It is largely due to a molecules such as tetrahydrofolate and other byproducts of dihydrofolic acid.

Vitamin B9 is essential to several body functions. An additional list of nutritional vitamins can be found under “Vitamins“.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 modified national regulations increasing folic acid in breads, cereals, corn meals, grain products, rice, pastas, flours and other items.

Folic acid can also be given in pill form as a medication for those with medical conditions that would benefit from its use.

Pregnancy and Folic Acid – Approved and Recommended

Breast Feeding and Folic Acid– Approved but inform your medical provider

Folic acid can be found in dietary sources such as:

–  Cereals
–  Breads
–  Liver
–  Green Leafy veggies
–  Asparagus
–  Beets
–  Spinach
–  Beans
–  Sunflower seeds

Medications that can interfere with folate reactions:

1.)  Methotrexate –  Used to treat autoimmune diseases and cancer

2.)  Trimethoprim  –  used as an antibiotic such as Septra

3.)  Pyrimethamine  –  for protozoal infections, antimalarial drug

4.)  Sulfonamide  –  Many uses

Side Effects of Folic acid

–  Nausea
–  Diarrhea
–  Flatulence  (Gas)
–  Bitter taste in mouth
–  Change in appetite

Uses for Folic Acid:

–  Quite important during Pregnancy  (Prevents Neural Tube Defects)
–  Folic Deficiency
–  Megaloblastic anemia
–  Heart Disease – may reduce circulating levels of homocysteine
–  Stroke  –  Reduces risk for stroke
–  Cancer  –  A complex association exists and is suggested that several cancer risks can be prevented
–  Fertility
–  Folate is necessary both for men and women
–  Macular Degeneration  –  Folate plus pyridoxine and cyanocobalamin reduce this health related risk
–  Others

Results of excess of Folic Acid

–  Little to no risk
–  May worsen a deficiency of Vitamin B12

Dosing in the United States

–  0.4 mg per day can be taken during pregnancy and as a supplement