Folic Acid, Folate - Why Is It Vital To Women?

Folic acid

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A member of the B-complex family, folate works with other B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12. Although it is present in many foods, folate is easily lost from your body and folate deficiency is thought to be the most common vitamin deficiency in the Western world.

How it works

Folic acid is essential for cell division, the production of red blood cells and the metabolism of proteins and sugars. It is involved in the transmission of the genetic code to offspring and is therefore vital during the early stages of pregnancy to ensure the development of a healthy baby.


Deficiency Symptoms


Prevent Birth Defects

Folate is crucial for normal development of the spine and spinal cord during the first three months of pregnancy.

Women who intend to become pregnant are advised to take a daily supplement of 400mcg of folate before conception and for the first three months of pregnancy to reduce the risk of spina bifida, a congenital condition in which part of the bony spine that helps to protect the spinal cord does not develop properly.

Prevent Anemia

This supplements help to produce healthy red blood cells and thus prevent tiredness and fatigue. However, high amounts of folate can hide the symptoms of pernicious anemia (caused by a lack of vitamin B12) until irreversible brain and nerve damage have occurred.

Prevent Osteoporosis

Folate is thought to help maintain strong bones.

Reduce Heart Problems

It helps to lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is thought to damage the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.


Essential for the development of a healthy baby, folate takes its name from foliage, or green leaves, in which it is often found.


Multivitamin tablets usually contain the RDA of 200mcg of folate, which is enough for an average person to remain healthy. Those at risk of folate deficiency include heavy drinkers, elderly people and pregnant women, for whom daily supplements of 400-800mcg are recommended.



Folic acid is toxic in large doses. It may also cause sleeplessness and interfere with the absorption of zinc in your body. People with epilepsy should consult their doctor before supplementing folate as it can interfere with the action of anti-epileptic drugs.


Folic Acid (Folate, Vitamin B9) Vital Facts

Recommended daily allowance for adults:

Main functions:
  • Prevents some birth defects
  • Helps ward off anemia
  • Maintains a healthy body
  • May reduce the risk of heart disease

Food Sources:

It is found in many foods but it is easily destroyed: up to two-thirds of folate is lost in cooking, especially boiling. You need to eat three servings of fortified breakfast cereal to achieve the RDA.

fortified breakfast cereal
black-eyed beans
green, leafy vegetables (such asspinach and broccoli)


Where to get best Folic Acid Supplements

If you are current taking multivitamin supplements, you should have enough folic acid included in your supplement. Do check the label of your multivitamin bottle to ensure that you have enough quantity daily (200mcg).

If you are looking for a quality multivitamin supplements, we recommend that you consider Xtend-Life Total Balance. There are several formula to suit a range of needs. Check it out here to see if there is any meets you needs. 

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