What is folate? Why do we need it?
Folate, also known as folic acid, is considered a "brain
food." It is especially important in pregnancy because it
helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation,
which is vital to normal development.
Folic acid is also needed
for energy production and the formation of red blood cells,
and it strengthens immunity by helping in proper formation
and functioning of white blood cells.
some good sources of folate?
Citrus fruits and juices, asparagus, brussel sprouts, spinach,
baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils contain folic
acid. Flour, rice, pasta and cornmeal can also be important
sources because they are often fortified with folic acid.
Other good sources include brewer's yeast, barley, brown rice,
cheese, chicken, dates, whole grains and certain seafood (salmon,
happen if we don't get enough folate?
A common sign of folic acid deficiency is a sore, red tongue.
Anemia, fatigue, graying hair, growth impairment, and weakness
are also common signs. Numerous studies have also shown that
women who get adequate daily folic acid (during their childbearing
years, not just while pregnant) can help minimize the risk
of birth defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly.
- Milunsky A,
Jick H, Jick SS, et al. Multivitamin/folic acid supplementation
in early pregnancy reduces the prevalence of neural tube defects.
Journal of the American Medical Association 1989:262,
- Czeizel AE, Dudas I. Prevention of the first occurrence of neural-tube
defects by periconceptional vitamin supplementation. New
England Journal of Medicine 1992:327, pp1832-35.
- Bailey LB, Gregory JF. Folate metabolism and
requirements. Journal of Nutrition 1999:129, pp779-82.
- Prevention of neural tube defects with folic
acid in China. New England Journal of Medicine 1999:341(20),
- Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary
Reference Intakes, Institute of Medicine (1998). In: Dietary
Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin
B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic acid, Biotin, and Choline,
pp. 8-1 to 8-68. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.