What is Folate?
Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and fortified foods. Folates play a vital role in the synthesis and repair of DNA, and they are important for cell growth and division.
What are the benefits of Folate?
Folate is important for pregnant women because it helps to prevent certain birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. It is also important for everyone because it helps to produce red blood cells and prevents anemia.
What foods contain Folate?
Folate is found in leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fortified foods.
How much Folate do I need?
The amount of folate you need depends on your age and life stage. The table below shows the recommended daily intakes for folate.
Life Stage Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) Infants 0-6 months 65 mcg/day 7-12 months 80 mcg/day Children 1-3 years 150 mcg/day 4-8 years 200 mcg/day Males 9-13 years 300 mcg/day 14+ years 400 mcg/day Females 9-13 years 300 mcg/day 14-18 years 400 mcg/day 19+ years 600 mcg/day Pregnant women 400-600 mcg/day Breastfeeding women 500-800 mcg/day
What are the signs of Folate deficiency?
Folate deficiency can cause anemia, which is a lack of red blood cells. The symptoms of anemia include tiredness, weakness, pale skin, and shortness of breath. Folate deficiency can also cause birth defects in the baby’s brain and spine.
Can I get too much Folate?
Yes, you can get too much folate. Taking more than 1,000 micrograms of folate per day can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and flatulence. Taking more than 5,000 micrograms of folate per day can lead to nerve damage.
After an oral dose, peak plasma concentrations of folate are reached in 2-6 hours. Folate is mainly bound to plasma proteins and is distributed to all tissues. It is excreted in the urine.
Mechanism of action
Folate is important for the synthesis of DNA. It helps to prevent birth defects by ensuring that DNA is properly synthesized and repaired.
Folic acid can interact with certain medications, such as anticonvulsants, methotrexate, and trimethoprim. These interactions can either increase or decrease the levels of folate in the blood. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any medications.
Research and general acceptance
Folate has been shown to be effective in the prevention of birth defects. It is recommended for all women of childbearing age, especially those who are planning to become pregnant. Folic acid supplements are also recommended for pregnant women.
Most people do not experience side effects from folate. However, some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea, flatulence, and stomach upset. Taking more than 1,000 micrograms of folate per day can cause these side effects. If you experience any side effects, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
Alternatives to Folate
If you cannot get enough folate from food or supplements, your doctor may prescribe folic acid tablets. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and fortified foods.
If you have any medical conditions, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor before taking folate supplements.
Folate should not be taken with anticonvulsants, methotrexate, or trimethoprim. These medications can interact with folate and cause side effects.
Do not take more than 1,000 micrograms of folate per day. Taking too much folate can cause side effects.
If you are taking any medications, speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking folate supplements.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you forget to take a dose of folate, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses of folate at the same time.
How should I store Folate?
Folate should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Keep it out of reach of children and pets.