St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Folic acid in diet

    Folic acid; Polyglutamyl folacin; Pteroylmonoglutamate; Folate

    Folic acid is a type of B vitamin. It is the man-made (synthetic) form of folate that is found in supplements and added to fortified foods.

    Folate is ageneric term for both naturally occurring folate found in foods andfolic acid.

    Folic acid is water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. Leftover amounts of the vitamin leave the body through the urine. That means your body does not store folic acid and you need a continuous supply of the vitamin in the foods you eat.

    Function

    Folate helps tissues grow and cells work. Taking the right amount of folic acid before and during pregnancy helps prevent certain birth defects, including spina bifida. Folate also helps prevent anemia.

    Folate deficiency may cause:

    • Diarrhea
    • Gray hair
    • Mouth ulcers
    • Peptic ulcer
    • Poor growth
    • Swollen tongue (glossitis)

    It may also lead to certain types of anemias.

    Folate works along with vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help the body break down, use, and create new proteins. The vitamin helps form red blood cells and produce DNA, the building block of the human body, which carries genetic information.

    Folic acid supplements may also be used to treat folic acid deficiency, certain menstrual problems, and leg ulcers.

    Food Sources

    Folate occurs naturally in the following foods:

    • Dark green leafy vegetables
    • Dried beans and peas (legumes)
    • Citrus fruits and juices

    Fortified means that vitamins have been added to the food. Many foods are now fortified with folic acid, including enriched breads, cereals, flours, cornmeals, pastas, rice, and other grain products.

    Side Effects

    Too much folic acid usually doesn't cause harm, because the vitamin is regularly removed from the body through urine.

    Recommendations

    The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a wide variety of foods. Most people in the United States get enough folic acid in their diet because it is plentiful in the food supply.

    There is good evidence that folic acid can help reduce the risk of certain birth defects (spina bifida and anencephaly). Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should take at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of a folic acid supplementevery day. Pregnant women need even higher levels of folic acid. Ask your health care provider which amount is best for you.

    The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamins reflects how much of each vitamin most people should get each day.

    • The RDA for vitamins may be used as goals for each person.
    • How much of each vitamin you need depends on your age and gender. Other factors, such as pregnancy and illnesses, are also important.

    The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine Recommended Intakes for Individuals - Daily Reference Intakes (DRIs) for folate:

    Infants

    • 0 - 6 months: 65 mcg/day*
    • 7 - 12 months: 80 mcg/day*

    *For infants from birth to 12 months, the Food and Nutrition Board established an Acceptable Intake (AI) for folate that is equivalent to the mean intake of folate in healthy, breastfed infants in the United States.

    Children

    • 1 - 3 years: 150 mcg/day
    • 4 - 8 years: 200 mcg/day
    • 9 - 13 years: 300 mcg/day

    Adolescents and Adults

    • Males age 14 and older: 400 mcg/day
    • Females age 14 and older: 400 mcg/day
    • Pregnantteens14-18 years: 600 mcg/day
    • Pregnant females 19 and older: 500 mcg/day
    • Breastfeeding females 14-18 years: 600 mcg/day
    • Breastfeeding females 19 and older:500 mcg/day

    References

    Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, PantothenicAcid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1998.

    Escott-Stump S, ed. Nutrition and Diagnosis-Related Care. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.

    Sarubin Fragaakis A, Thomson C. The Health Professional's Guide to Popular Dietary Supplements. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: American Dietetic Association; 2007.

    Suren P, et al. Association Between Maternal Use of Folic Acid Supplements and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children. JAMA. 2013: Vol.309; pp 570-577.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Vitamin B9 benefits

      illustration

    • Vitamin B9 source

      illustration

      • Vitamin B9 benefits

        illustration

      • Vitamin B9 source

        illustration

      A Closer Look

      Self Care

      Tests for Folic acid in diet

      Review Date: 2/18/2013

      Reviewed By: Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE, Nutritionist, University of Washington Medical Center Diabetes Care Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
      adam.com

      A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


      Back  |  Top
      About Us
      Contact Us
      History
      Mission
      Locations & Directions
      Quality Reports
      Annual Reports
      Honors & Awards
      Community Health Needs
      Assessment

      Newsroom
      Services
      Brain & Spine
      Cancer
      Heart
      Maternity
      Orthopedics
      Pulmonary
      Sleep Medicine
      Urgent Care
      Women's Services
      All Services
      Patients & Visitors
      Locations & Directions
      Find a Physician
      Tour St. Luke's
      Patient & Visitor Information
      Contact Us
      Payment Options
      Financial Assistance
      Send a Card
      Mammogram Appointments
      Health Tools
      My Personal Health
      mystlukes
      Spirit of Women
      Health Information & Tools
      Clinical Trials
      Health Risk Assessments
      Employer Programs -
      Passport to Wellness

      Classes & Events
      Classes & Events
      Spirit of Women
      Donate & Volunteer
      Giving Opportunities
      Volunteer
      Physicians & Employees
      For Physicians
      Remote Access
      Medical Residency Information
      Pharmacy Residency Information
      Physician CPOE Training
      Careers
      Careers
      St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
      Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile