Folic Acid

Folic acid (also known as folate, vitamin M, vitamin B9, vitamin Bc (or folacin), pteroyl-L-glutamic acid, pteroyl-L-glutamate, and pteroylmonoglutamic acid) are forms of the water-soluble vitamin B9. Folic acid is itself not biologically active, but its biological importance is due to tetrahydrofolate and other derivatives after its conversion to dihydrofolic acid in the liver.

Vitamin B9 (folic acid and folate) is essential to numerous bodily functions. The human body needs folate to synthesize DNA, repair DNA, and methylate DNA as well as to act as a cofactor in certain biological reactions. It is especially important in aiding rapid cell division and growth, such as in infancy and pregnancy. Children and adults both require folic acid to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia.

Folate and folic acid derive their names from the Latin word folium (which means "leaf"). Leafy vegetables are principal sources of folic acid, although in Western diets fortified cereals and bread may be a larger dietary source.

A lack of dietary folates leads to folate deficiency, which is uncommon in normal Western diets. A complete lack of dietary folate takes months before deficiency develops as normal individuals have about 500–20,000 µg of folate in body stores. This deficiency can result in many health problems, the most notable one being neural tube defects in developing embryos. Common symptoms of folate deficiency include diarrhea, macrocytic anemia with weakness or shortness of breath, nerve damage with weakness and limb numbness (peripheral neuropathy), pregnancy complications, mental confusion, forgetfulness or other cognitive declines, mental depression, sore or swollen tongue, peptic or mouth ulcers, headaches, heart palpitations, irritability, and behavioral disorders. Low levels of folate can also lead to homocysteine accumulation. DNA synthesis and repair are impaired and this could lead to cancer development.

Read more about Folic AcidDietary Reference Intake, History, Dietary Fortification

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Pyrimethamine - Clinical Use
... typically given with a sulfonamide and folinic acid sulfonamides inhibit dihydropteroate synthetase, an enzyme that participates in folic acid synthesis from para-aminobenzoic acid ... by blocking a different enzyme needed for folic acid synthesis ... folinic acid (leucovorin) is a folic acid derivative that is converted to tetrahydrofolate (the primary active form of folic acid) in vivo without relying on dihydrofolate reductase ...
Folic Acid - Dietary Fortification - United States
35% uses dietary supplements containing folic acid ... The age group consuming the most folate and folic acid is the >50 group ... (FDA) published regulations requiring the addition of folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, corn meals, pastas, rice, and other grain products ...
Levomefolic Acid
... Levomefolic acid (INN) (also known as 5-MTHF, l-methylfolate and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate) is the natural, active form of folic acid used at the cellular level ... The un-methylated form, folic acid (vitamin B9), is a synthetic form of folate found in nutritional supplements ... Synthetic folic acid is metabolized in the body into levomefolic acid ...
MOMS Study - Prevention
... However, dietary supplementation with folic acid has been shown to be helpful in reducing the incidence of spina bifida ... Sources of folic acid include whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, dried beans, leaf vegetables and fruits ... Food and Drug Administration, Public Health Agency of Canada and UK recommended amount of folic acid for women of childbearing age and women planning to ...
MOMS Study - Pathophysiology
... Research has shown the lack of folic acid (folate) is a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of neural tube defects, including spina bifida ... It is unknown how or why folic acid has this effect ... This risk can be reduced to about 1% if the woman takes high doses (4 mg/day) of folic acid before and during pregnancy ...