1. Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food such as spinach, asparagus, and lentils.
2. Folic acid (vitamin B9) is a synthetic form of folate. It is found in supplements and added to fortified foods such as breads and cereals.
3. Folic acid is also called folicin.
4. Folate helps produce and maintain new cells, therefore its importance during infancy and pregnancy.
5. Folic acid is is actually better absorbed by the body than natural folate, almost twice as efficiently.
6. The daily requirement for folate is 400 micrograms (mcg). Pregnant and lactating women – 600 mcg.
7. A safe upper limit to folate consumptions is 1000 mcg a day.
8. Folate deficient women who become pregnant are at greater risk of giving birth to low birth weight, premature, and/or infants with neural tube defects.
9. Beginning in 1998, the FDA has required the addition of folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, corn meals, pastas, rice, and other grain products. The stated goal was reduction in rates of neural tube defects in newborns.
10. Despite the fortification, many women planning to become pregnant add a folic acid supplement to their daily routine.
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