Folic Acid (Folate)

Essential for biosynthesis of nucleic acids, especially important in early fetal development. Essential for normal maturation of red blood cells. Functions as a coenzyme – tetrahydrofolic acid. Folate-dependent reaction is the conversion of homocysteine to methionine in the synthesis of S-adenosyl-methionine, an important methyl donor. Also folate-dependent reaction, the methylation of deoxyuridylate to thymidylate in the formation of DNA, is required for proper cell division. An impairment of this reaction initiates a process that can lead to megaloblastic anemia. 

Stable in presence of sunlight when in solution. Unstable in presence of heat in acid media.

Dietary reference intakes of Folic acid

Infants 65-80 mcg/day

Children 150-200 mcg/day

Adolescents 300-400 mcg/day

Adults 400 mcg/day

Pregnant 600 mcg/day

Lactating 500 mcg/day

Folic acid content of selected foods

Fortified dry cereal, 1 cup (100 - 672 mcg)

Black-eyed peas, boiled, 1 cup (358 mcg)

Lentils, boiled 1 cup (358 mcg)

Beans, white, boiled, 1 cup (263 mcg)

Asparagus, cooked, 1 cup (243 mcg)

Beef liver, braised, 3 oz (215 mcg)

Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup (168 mcg)

Spaghetti, cooked, enriched, 1 cup (167 mcg)

Fresh orange juice, 1 cup (75 mcg)

Symptoms of Folic acid deficiency


General weakness


Dermatologic lesions

Occlusive vascular disease

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.

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