Your body is made up of trillions of cells, and for these cells to function properly, you need to supply your body with the nutrients it needs. Folic acid is a B vitamin your body uses for metabolism, and it is essential in the creation of new cells.
Folate and Folic Acid Sources
Folate and folic acid are different forms of the same vitamin. Folate is the form most commonly found in food, and folic acid is the form used in supplements and multivitamins. Your body uses both the same way. Folate sources include fruits, leafy green vegetables, dried beans, peas and nuts. Enriched breads, cereals and vitamin supplements are sources of folic acid.
Daily Intake Recommendations
The Institute of Medicine's daily intake recommendation for folate and folic acid is 400 micrograms per day. Breastfeeding mothers need 500 micrograms per day, and pregnant women need 600 micrograms per day. These levels can help prevent major birth defects in the fetus's brain or spine. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends a daily intake of 600 micrograms if you drink alcohol regularly.
Folic Acid Deficiency
Most people get enough folic acid in their diet. However, if you are deficient, you can have symptoms including anemia, gray hair, poor growth, a swollen tongue, mouth ulcers, peptic ulcers and diarrhea. To avoid these symptoms, eat a balanced diet that contains sources of folate and, in consultation with your doctor, consider taking a supplement that includes folic acid.
There is no official maximum daily intake of folate, but the Harvard School of Public Health recommends that you take no more than 1,000 micrograms per day. If you plan to add a multivitamin or supplement, consult your doctor if you are on medications before you increase your vitamin intake. This is important because some vitamins can interfere with how your medications work.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.