How Much Folic Acid Do You Need?


Chemical Structure of Folic Acid

At the beginning of the year, you excitedly started a new, diet plan. Due to a desire to drop a few pounds, you began eating real, healthy foods instead of calorie, fat, sugar, and sodium laden, processed ones. Carefully studying nutrition labels also became a priority. One of the items you noticed on some nutrition labels was folic acid. If you can relate to this scenario, you might not be familiar with the role this vitamin plays in your overall health. In fact, you might not even know how much folic acid* you need each day. 

Folate versus Folic Acid

The term folate refers to both the naturally occurring folate found in food and folic acid. Folic acid is the entirely oxidized monoglutamate type of the substance found in fortified foods and dietary supplements. Both naturally occurring folate and folic acid affect the body in the same way. They both are essential for proper metabolism and cell growth. Folate deficits are more prevalent in people who:

  • Suffer digestive problems
  • Have liver disease
  • Suffer from kidney disease
  • Abuse Alcohol

The recommended dietary allowance of folate for those 14 years of age and older is 400 micrograms. However, pregnant women should consume 600 micrograms of folate daily. Women who are breastfeeding their babies need 500 micrograms of folate every day.

Folate Rich Foods

Foods rich in folate include:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Bananas
  • Lemons
  • Melons 

Some types of fruit juices, cereals, and breads are often fortified with folic acid. Although consuming folic acid is generally considered safe, taking folic acid in large quantities may cause you to experience: 

  • Insomnia
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Nausea 

If you need help creating an eating plan complete with healthy doses of folic acid, and other health benefiting nutrients, consider scheduling a free appointment with a consultant at a Metabolic Research Center near you.

*Pregnant women, and women who may become pregnant, are strongly advised to take daily folic acid supplements. Women who take folic acid supplements significantly decrease the likelihood of having babies with serious, birth defects of the spine and brain such as spina bifida.

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