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Folate is a water-soluble Vitamin B that occurs naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and added to fortified foods. Folate helps cells grow and divide, reduces risk of certain birth defects, is important for red blood cells and crucial in creating amino acids.
Where You Get Folate?
In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published regulations requiring the addition of folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, corn meals, pastas, rice, and other grain products. Since cereals and grains are widely consumed in the U.S., these products have become a very important contributor of folic acid to the American diet.
People who abuse alcohol, those taking medications that may interfere with the action of folate (including, but not limited to those listed above), individuals diagnosed with anemia from folate deficiency, and those with malabsorption, liver disease, or who are receiving kidney dialysis treatment may benefit from a folic acid supplement.
RDA: 400mcg for adults.
Folate and Vitamin B6 Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Researchers from the graduate school of medicine in Osaka, Japan used a food frequency questionnaire to conduct a prospective cohort study of 58,730 Japanese adults over 14 years. It was found that there was an inverse relationship between folate and vitamin B6 intake with mortality from heart failure for men and mortality from stroke, coronary heart disease and total cardiovascular disease for women. Source: Cui, R.; Iso, H.; Date, C.; Kikuchi, S.; Tamakoshi, A. Dietary Folate and Vitamin B6 and B12 Intake in Relation to Mortality From Cardiovascular Diseases. Japan Collaborative Cohort Study. Stroke, 2010
Folate and Glaucoma
A study found that people with higher folate intake had a lower risk of one type of glaucoma, likely because folate helps reduce levels of buildup-causing homocysteine. Stay clear-eyed with these folate rich foods, all with a double-digit dose of your daily 400mcg:
- 1/2 cup cook spinach: 33-percent RDA
- 1/2 cup cooked black eyed peas: 26-percent RDA
- 4 spears cooked asparagus: 22-percent RDA
- 1 cup romaine lettuce: 16-percent RDA
- 1/2 cup avocado: 15-percent RDA
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ: 10-percent RDA
Symptoms of folate deficiency:
- Smooth Tongue
- Defective DNA synthesis
Read More: Essential Nutrients