Folate & Folic Acid

Background Info:

  • This vitamin is called folate when it is naturally occurring in foods. It is called folic acid when it is found as a supplement or in foods enriched with this vitamin.

Health Benefits:

  • Reduces the risk of neural  tube defects in the fetus such as spina bifida
  • Helps the body create new cells
  • Supports serotonin regulation
  • Can protect against heart disease

Recommended Dietary Allowance:

  • Women of childbearing age: 400 mcg


  • Asparagus – 89 mcg in 4 spears
  • Avocado – 59 mcg in 1/2 cup
  • Black-eyed peas – 105 mcg in 1/2 cup
  • Brussels sprouts – 78 mcg in 1/2 cup
  • Hazelnuts
  • Romaine lettuce – 64 mcg in 1 cup
  • Spinach – 132 mcg in 1/2 cup
  • Wheat germ – 40 mcg in 2 Tbsp


  • Folic acid is more readily absorbed when taken in a supplement form or from foods enriched with folic acid as opposed to folate from foods.

New Research: 

  • People with higher folate intake had a slower risk of one type of glaucoma. This may be because folate helps reduce levels of build-up of homocysteine.

Daily Upper Limit:

  • Too much folic acid can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency


  • “Ocular Eats.” Prevention. August 2014. 37.
  • Iznaola, Iustina. (2014, July). “Dietitians dish: does the use of vitamins and minerals as dietary supplements improve health?” Retrieved from
  • “How to Read a Multivitamin Label.” Nutrition Action Health Letter. November 2013. 7.


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