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The synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin, that’s necessary for cell reproduction and cellular health during pregnancy and periods of rapid growth.
Folic acid is the synthetic counterpart to folate, a B vitamin that can be found naturally in certain plant foods. Of the two, folic acid is the more readily available—the body absorbs about twice as much folic acid at any given time—but they play the same role in good health.
Cell reproduction is among folate’s most important duties. Folate is necessary for making the nucleic acids DNA and RNA and, as such, folate helps to produce and maintain cells, a role that is critical during times of rapid growth, such as pregnancy and infancy. This also explains why folate/folic acid is so important in maintaining normal brain function.
Adequate folic acid is necessary during pregnancy to help prevent certain birth defects. The USDA’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identifies folic acid as a nutrient needed for women in their childbearing years who are capable of becoming pregnant.
That being said, in everyone, folate helps to produce healthy red blood cells capable of transporting oxygen to each and every cell.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (DFE)
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