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Folate and Folic Acid Requirements and Dietary Sources

Vitamin Guide


Updated February 04, 2014

Spinach and folate

Spinach is rich in folate.

Florin Bleiceanu

Folate is a water-soluble vitamin found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, oranges, strawberries, legumes and whole grains.

Folate is required for production of new cells and for making DNA and RNA (the blueprints for your cells). It's also necessary for protein metabolism. A deficiency may result in folate anemia.

Daily Requirements

1 to 3 years: 150 micrograms per day
4 to 8 years: 200 micrograms per day
9 to 13 years: 300 micrograms per day
14 to 18 years: 400 micrograms per day
19+ years: 400 micrograms per day

Folic acid is a form of folate used in dietary supplements and fortified breads and cereals.

Folate and folic acid are important vitamins for women who are pregnant or about to become pregnant. They help to prevent a birth defect called spina bifida and other neural tube defects.

Folic acid may also reduce homocysteine levels in your blood. But supplementation does not appear to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Also Known As:

vitamin B9, pteroylglutamic acid


National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. "Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Folate." Updated 08/2005.


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