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    What is Folate deficiency & Why is Folic Acid important for the human body?

    Folic acid or Vitamin B9 is a naturally occuring water soluble vitamin essential for the human body. The deficiency of this vitamin causes folate deficiency which results in many diseases and deformities in humans. Take a look at the details below.
    Created On: Sep 3, 2021 16:54 IST
    Modified On: Sep 3, 2021 17:14 IST
    What is Folate deficiency
    What is Folate deficiency

    Folate is a natural form of Vitamin B9, which is one of the water soluble vitamins and is naturally found in various foods. It is added to various foods and used as supplements in the form of folic acid.

    Folic Acid is a synthetic form of folate or Vitamin B9. Folate is helpful in the formation of DNA and genetic material. It is essential for prenatal health. 

    What is Folate Deficiency?

    The deficiency of Viatmin B9 in the body causes Folate Deficiency. Folate deficiency causes megaloblastic anaemia in humans. The symptoms may be weakness, fatigue, troubled concentration, headache, irritability, heart palipitations, sores on tongue or mouth etc. Take a look at the details below. 

    What is the use of Folate?

    1. Folate is useful in formation of DNA and RNA and is involved in protein metabolism as well. 
    2. It plays a key role in breakdown of homocysteine, the amino acid. This amino acid exerts harmful effects in the body if present in excessive amounts. 
    3. Folate is essential for healthy red blood cells and is critical during the periods of growth like in fetal development. 
    4. It also finds uses in treatment and prevention of low blood levels of folate and high blood of homocysteine. 
    5. In pregnant women folate helps in prevention of development of spina bifida in the child.
    6. It finds uses in conditions like depression, stroke, decline in memory and thinking skills etc.

    Folic Acid/ Folate: Natural Sources and Food additives

    Since 1998, as per Federal law, folate has been added to

    1. Cold cereals
    2. Flour
    3. Breads
    4. Pasta
    5. Bakery items
    6. Cookies
    7. Crackers etc. 

    folic acid sources

    The foods that are rich in folate content are:

    1. Leafy vegetables
    2. Okra
    3. Asparagus
    4. Fruits
    5. Beans
    6. Yeast
    7. Mushrooms
    8. Animal liver and kidney
    9. Orange juice
    10. Tomato juice

    Folic acid is also available as a supplement with various medicines or in combination with other vitamins. 

    Recommended dosage of Folate:

    Take a look at the table below to understand the recommended usage of folate in human body


    Recommended amount

    0–6 months

    65 mcg DFE

    7–12 months

    80 mcg DFE

    1–3 years

    150 mcg DFE

    4–8 years

    200 mcg DFE

    9–13 years

    300 mcg DFE

    14–18 years

    400 mcg DFE

    19+ years

    400 mcg DFE

    Which diseases can be prevented with Folic Acid?

    Neural Tube Irregularities:

    Folic Acid would be helpful in preventing the development of any irregularity in the neural tube in the fetus during pregnancy. It also reduces the risk of preterm birth.


    Lower folate levels may cause depression in many people. Folate along with depression medicines can make them more effective. 


    Folic Acid before and after pregnancy may reduce the risk of autism in the babies. 

    Rheumatoid arthritis:

    Folic acid may be prescribed along with methotrexate prescription for rheumatoid arthritis. 

    There has been no such side effect that can be noteworthy of folate. As it is a water soluble vitamin, excess of it passes through the body along with urine. 

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