How Much Folate Do You Need to Consume?


Soup Bowl and Lentils

Both folate and folic acid are body-essential, water-soluble B vitamins. While folate is naturally occurring, folic acid is a synthetic supplement. Both are capable of assisting the body’s natural processes, and both exist well within both natural foods and supplements.

Our bodies need folate and folic acid to create DNA alongside other genetic material. Folate is also used in the body’s cell division, promoting reproduction on a cellular level. You body’s folate supply is very important, and low folate levels can cause potential health issues.

How Much is Enough?

The Institute of Medicine covers folate and folic acid intake. Folate, commonly called vitamin B9, should be consumed at 400 micrograms daily. The human body’s upper limit, for adults, is approximately 1,000 micrograms daily of folic acid. Folic acid, again, is derived from fortified foods and supplements. “Healthy” daily intake of B vitamins isn’t necessarily rigid, and new studies propose new, effective intake amounts annually. Likely, the next few years will create new evaluations, recreating the needed intake level through healthy dieting as well as multivitamin supplementation.

Where Can I Find Folate?

Folate is present in many foods. Lentils, green leafy vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, fortified grains and breakfast cereals are common “folate-heavy” foods, and they’re great dietary resources. However, foods heavily fortified with folic acid should be avoided. Without help from a dietitian or assistance from a weight loss specialist, intensive supplementation may imbalance one’s body chemistry when guessing at folate/folic acid needs. So, don't experiment.

In the United States, the food industry’s folic acid fortification has increased steadily, as has folate presence in adults’ blood. However, only a small fraction of United States adults receive recommended vitamin B intake, either ingesting too little or too much. Adults are recommended to ingest a multivitamin daily to replenish and supplement folate amounts. Additionally, a diet composed of beets, green vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts and legumes is proposed. Peanuts, sunflower seeds and other grains, too, will support a well-balanced menu plan.

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