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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

(Vitamin B-9)

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  • Folic Acid (Folate / Vitamin B-9) Description & Overview
  • Folic Acid (Folate / Vitamin B-9) Health Benefits
  • Folic Acid (Folate / Vitamin B-9) Dietary Sources
  • Folic Acid (Folate / Vitamin B-9) Dosage Information
  • Folic Acid (Folate / Vitamin B-9) Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Folic Acid (Folate / Vitamin B-9) Supplement Products

  • folate, folic acid, vitamin b-9


    Considered a brain food, Folic Acid is needed for energy production and the formation of red blood cells. It also strengthens immunity by aiding in the proper formation and functioning of white blood cells. Because it functions as a coenzyme in DNA and RNA synthesis, it is important for healthy cell division and replication. It is involved in protein metabolism, and has been used in the prevention and treatment of folic acid anemia. This nutrient may also help depression and anxiety. It may be effective in the treatment of uterine cervical dysplasia.

    Folic Acid is very important in pregnancy. It helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation, which is vital for normal development. Studies have shown that a daily intake of 400 mcg of folic acid in early pregnancy may prevent the vast majority of neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. It may also help to prevent premature birth. To be effective, this regimen must begin before conception and continue for at least the first three months of pregnancy; if a woman waits until she knows she is pregnant, it may be too late, because critical events in fetal development occur during the first six weeks of pregnancy - before most women know they have conceived. This is why many health care providers and midwives recommend that every woman of childbearing age take a folic acid supplement daily as a matter of course. Folic acid works best when combined with vitamin B-12 and vitamin C.

    A sore, red tongue is one sign of Folic Acid deficiency. Other possible signs include anemia, apathy, digestive disturbances, fatigue, graying hair, growth impairment, insomnia, labored breathing, memory problems, paranoia, weakness, and birth defects in one's offspring. Folic Acid deficiency may be caused by inadequate consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables; consumption of only cooked or microwaved vegetables (cooking destroys folic acid); and malabsorption problems.

    Nutrition: Pregnancy Diet
    Nutrition: Folic Acid Facts
    Nutrition Guidelines
    Health: Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia


    There are some indications that folic acid use may reduce the risk for neural tube defects and other birth defects, such as cleft lip and palate and certain congenital heart defects. Folic acid may also play a role in protecting against some forms of cancer and heart disease. More research is needed to understand the impact of folic acid in preventing those diseases and other birth defects.


    Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B-vitamin (B-9) that can be found in some enriched foods and vitamin pills. If women have enough of it in their bodies before pregnancy, this vitamin can decrease the risk for neural tube defects (NTDs), which are birth defects of the baby's brain (anencephaly) or spine (spina bifida).

    Folic acid in a vitamin supplement, when taken one month before conception and throughout the first trimester, has been proven to reduce the risk for an neural tube defect (NTD)-affected pregnancy by 50 to 70 percent. Folic acid is necessary for proper cell growth and development of the embryo. Although it is not known exactly how folic acid works to prevent NTDs, its role in tissue formation is essential. Folic acid is required for the production of DNA, which is necessary for the rapid cell growth needed to make fetal tissues and organs early in pregnancy. That is why it is important for a woman to have enough folic acid in her body both before and during pregnancy.

    For many women, an easy way to be sure you are getting enough folic acid is to take a vitamin with folic acid in it. The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women who could possibly become pregnant get 400 micrograms(mcg) (or 0.4 mg) of folic acid every day. This could prevent up to 70 percent of some types of serious birth defects. To do this, women need folic acid at least one month before they get pregnant. That is why you should always get enough folic acid every day even if you are not thinking about a baby any time soon. Folic acid has been added to some foods, such as enriched breads, pastas, rice, and cereals. A few cereals have 100 percent of the folic acid you need.

    No one expects an unplanned pregnancy. But they happen every day. In fact, about half of all pregnancies are not planned. That is why you should get enough folic acid every day if there is any chance you could get pregnant. Because by the time you know you are pregnant, your baby's brain and spine are already formed.

    Neural tube defects (NTDs) occur between the 17th and 30th day after conception (or 4 to 6 weeks after the first day of a woman's last menstrual period), the neural tube forms in the embryo (developing baby) and then closes. The neural tube later becomes the baby's spinal cord, spine, brain, and skull. A neural tube defect (NTD) occurs when the neural tube fails to close properly, leaving the developing brain or spinal cord exposed to the amniotic fluid. The two most common neural tube defects are anencephaly and spina bifida.


    High levels of the amino acid homocysteine are independently associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. It has been shown that taking folic acid lowers homocysteine levels in both men and women, but it is not yet known whether folic acid supplementation also lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.


    The following foods contain significant quantities of folic acid: barley, beef, bran, brewer's yeast, brown rice, cheese, chicken, dates, green leafy vegetables, lamb, legumes, lentils, liver, milk, mushrooms, oranges, split peas, pork, root vegetables, salmon, tuna, wheat germ, whole grains, and whole wheat.

    Micrograms (mcg)
    (per 100 g of food - 3.5 oz.)

    Dark-Green Leafy Vegetables

    120 to 160

    Other Vegetables

    40 to 100

    Fruits (Particularly Citrus)

    50 to 100

    Beans (Legumes)

    50 to 300

    Whole Grains

    60 to 120

    Breakfast Cereals

    100 or 400


    Folic acid has no known toxic level. If you were to eat a bowl of fully fortified cereal (400 micrograms), take a folic acid supplement (400 mcg), and eat fortified foods and foods rich in folate, women of reproductive age would not have a problem with too much folic acid. Even in very high amounts folic acid is non-toxic. Nevertheless, it is recommended that women consume no more than 1,000 micrograms of supplemental folic acid a day.

    Large amounts of folic acid may hide the ability to quickly diagnose a rare vitamin B-12 deficiency known as Pernicious Anemia. This condition primarily affects the elderly population and, in some cases, can lead to neurological damage. Today, health care providers can use a simple test to check for a B-12 deficiency. Folic Acid is often supplemented with Vitamin B-12 to insure this deficiency does not occur.

    Folic acid, which is not an herb but a necessary nutrient found in green, leafy vegetables, can also play a role in treating cervical dysplasia. Many women with cervical dysplasia have a folic acid deficiency, especially if they take birth control pills. According to one study of women on the Pill, three weeks of folic acid supplements reversed the risk of cervical cancer for a significant number of women. The recommended dosage for women who have cervical dysplasia take 2 milligrams of folic acid a day for three months, then reduce the dose to 0.5 milligram a day. Along with your herbal therapy, vitamins A, C and the B-complex can be extremely helpful. If you smoke cigarettes, consider quitting.


  • Do not take high doses of folic acid for extended periods if you have a hormone-related cancer or convulsive disorder.
  • Oral contraceptives may increase the need for folic acid.
  • Alcohol also can act as an enemy to folic acid absorption.


  • Folic Acid (Folate / Vitamin B-9) Supplement Products


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    Folate / Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9) is a member of the B-Complex family. It is found in abundance in leafy green vegetables. Folic acid participates in a coenzyme reaction that synthesizes DNA needed for cell growth and new cell formation, and helps convert vitamin B-12 to one of its coenzyme forms. Helps promote healthy DNA function, Maintains already normal homocysteine levels, which is important for heart health, Promotes healthier skin, Helps maintain a healthy GI tract, Is part of a healthy immune system, Maintains healthy endothelial function, Improves mild memory loss associated with aging, Optimal levels of folate are necessary for healthy cell division and protein synthesis and are especially important for the maintenance of a healthy GI tract. The systemic need for folate increases in certain states in which increased cell multiplication is needed. Chronic use of medications such as aspirin in therapeutic doses and antacids can interfere with the metabolism of folate. Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic and inexpensive form of vitamin B12 that is converted in the body to its bioactive forms, methylcobalamin and cobamamide. Like beta-carotene, some evidence suggests that folate (also known as vitamin B-9) deficiencies may contribute to the development of cancerous or precancerous lesions in the cervix. Researchers also theorize that folate consumed in the diet may improve the cellular changes seen in cervical dysplasia by lowering homocysteine (a substance believed to contribute to the severity of cervical dysplasia) levels. The benefit of using dietary folate to prevent or treat cervical dysplasia has not been sufficiently proven.


    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Woodland Publishing, 32 Page Booklet (90210)
    HerbsPro: Methyl Folate, Jarrow Formulas, 400 mcg, 60 Caps (106745)
    Methyl Folate ((6S)-5-methyl tetrahydrofolate or 5-MTHF) is the most biologically active form of folic acid. Quatrefolic is the 4th generation development in folate delivery. With certain inherited errors in metabolism and under a variety of physiologic stresses, the transformation of folic acid into the active form of folate either does not properly take place or is inadequate. Unlike folic acid, this form of folate can cross the blood-brain barrier. Methyl Folate is needed to support cardiovascular and neurologic health and proper cell division. Folate supplementation during pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects.
    HerbsPro: Fully Active Folate, Doctors Best, 400 mcg, 90 VCaps (92862)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Natural Factors, 400 mcg, 90 Tabs (84245)
    HerbsPro: Folate (As Metafolin), Solgar, 400 mcg, 100 Tabs (100246)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Solgar, 400 mcg, 100 Tabs (36412)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, BlueBonnet Nutrition, 400 mcg, 180 VCaps (100569)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Natures Life, 400 mcg, 200 Tabs (90408)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Natures Bounty, 400 mcg, 250 Tabs (97443)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Solgar, 400 mcg, 250 Tabs (36413)
    HerbsPro: QuatreActiv Folate, Nutricology-Allergy Research Group, 500 mcg, 90 VCaps (94891)
    HerbsPro: QuatreActiv Folate, Nutricology-Allergy Research Group, 500 mcg, 120 VCaps (94892)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Thompson Nutritional Products, 800 mcg, 30 Tabs (35595)
    HerbsPro: Mega-Folinic, Source Naturals, 800 mcg, 60 Tabs (70123)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Solgar, 800 mcg, 100 Tabs (45777)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Solgar, 800 mcg, 100 VCaps (36414)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Natures Life, 800 mcg, 100 Tabs (89730)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Sundown Naturals, 800 mcg, 100 Tabs (98555)
    HerbsPro: Folate (As Metafolin), Solgar, 800 mcg, 100 Tabs (100248)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Country Life, 800 mcg, 100 Tabs (37178)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Jarrow Formulas, 800 mcg, 100 Caps (1198)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Natures Way, 800 mcg, 100 Caps (17888)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Twin Lab, 800 mcg, 100 Caps (19594)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Organic, Futurebiotics, 800 mcg, 120 VTabs (86260)
    HerbsPro: Mega-Folinic, Source Naturals, 800 mcg, 120 Tabs (70123)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, BlueBonnet Nutrition, 800 mcg, 180 VCaps (100568)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Source Naturals, 800 mcg, 200 Tabs (6854)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, TwinLab, 800 mcg, 200 Caps (19595)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid Plus Vitamin B-12, Now Foods, 800 mcg, 250 VTabs (68185)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Solgar, 800 mcg, 250 Tabs (45778)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Natures Life, 800 mcg, 250 Tabs (89731)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Country Life, 800 mcg, 250 Tabs (37179)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Solgar, 800 mcg, 250 VCaps (36415)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Natures Bounty, 800 mcg, 250 Tabs (77445)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid Plus Vitamin B-12, Now Foods, 800 mcg, 250 VTabs (68185)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Source Naturals, 800 mcg, 500 Tabs (6852)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Source Naturals, 800 mcg, 1000 Tabs (6853)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid, Natural Factors, 1 mg (1000 mcg), 90 Tabs (84244)
    HerbsPro: Optimized Folate (L Methylfolate), Life Extension, 1000 mcg, 100 VCaps (94399)
    HerbsPro: Folic Acid Liquid With B-12, World Organics, 1000 mcg / 400 mcg, 2 fl. oz. (20231)


    Kalyx: Folic Acid, Thompson Nutritional, 800 mcg, 30 Tabs: K
    Kalyx: Folic Acid, TwinLab, 800 mcg, 100 Caps: K
    Kalyx: Folic Acid, Natures Way, 800 mcg, 100 Caps: HF


    Amazon: Folic Acid Supplement Products
    Amazon: Folate Supplement Products

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