Importance of Folic acid in diet

Know about importance of folic acid, deficiency of folate, natural food sources of folate or folic acid. Lean how to prevent folic acid deficiency.

Folic acid is a type of Vitamin B complex. Folate is a generic term for both naturally occurring folate found in foods and folic acid. Folic acid is name of synthetically created folate which we add in foods and supplements.

Folate is very important for development and growth of the body tissues and cells. Taking the adequate amount of folic acid before and during pregnancy helps prevent certain birth defects, including spina bifida.

Folate is water soluble vitamin B complex so our body can not store it for the long time. So we need to intake proper amount of folate rich diet regularly.

Folic acid(folate) deficiency may cause the following health problems

  • Diarrhea
  • Gray hair
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Poor growth
  • Swollen tongue (glossitis)

It can also cause anemia because deficiency of folate will reduce building of new RBC.

Folate works along with vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help the body break down, use, and create new proteins. The vitamin helps form red blood cells and produce DNA, the building block of the human body, which carries genetic information.

Recommended Daily Intake of Folate

Adolescents and Adults

  • Males age 14 and older: 400 mcg/day
  • Females age 14 and older: 400 mcg/day
  • Pregnant teens 14-18 years: 600 mcg/day
  • Pregnant females 19 and older: 500 mcg/day
  • Breastfeeding females 14-18 years: 600 mcg/day
  • Breastfeeding females 19 and older: 500 mcg/day


  • 1 – 3 years: 150 mcg/day
  • 4 – 8 years: 200 mcg/day
  • 9 – 13 years: 300 mcg/day

Natural food sources of folate

  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Dried beans and peas (legumes)
  • Citrus fruits and juices

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