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Why Everyone Should Take Folic Acid.

Updated on August 18, 2013

Mention the words "Folic Acid" and most people immediately assume you are talking about women who are either trying to get pregnant or are pregnant already. Naturally it is important that women in this situation do ensure they take Folic Acid on a daily basis in order to avoid their baby being born with any serious neural tube defects (a birth defect involving incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord). The most common neural tube defects are spina bifida (an incomplete closure of the spinal cord and spinal column), anencephaly (severe underdevelopment of the brain), and encephalocele (when brain tissue protrudes out to the skin from an abnormal opening in the skull). All of these defects occur during the first 28 days of pregnancy — frequently before a woman even knows she's pregnant.

What many people don't consider is that Folic Acid, also known as (Folate, Pteroylglutamic Acid, or Folacin,) is actually very beneficial to both men and women in their normal day to day dietary intake. I want to explain in this article why Folic Acid is such an important supplement to your diet, as well as suggesting great natural sources of this B vitamin (B9)

Health Benefits of Folic Acid

There are an extensive level of health benefits to both sexes from taking Folic Acid, either in tablet form or by ensuring you eat the foods naturally high in Folic Acid. To illustrate many of the health advantages I compiled the following list:

Folic Acid helps to inhibit colon Cancer.

Folic Acid is important for cell maintenance and repair, synthesis of DNA, amino acid metabolism and formation of red and white blood cells.

Folic Acid helps prevent heart disease.

In addition to high cholesterol levels, an equally important risk indicator of heart disease is increased homocysteine, an abnormal protein by product. One of the benefits of taking Folic acid and other B Vitamins is that they help remove homocysteine from the blood. Too much homocysteine can cause serious artery damage.

Folic Acid is essential for the synthesis and repair of DNA.

Folic acid may also help other conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, arthrosclerosis, and diarrhoea. It can also be helpful in treating epilepsy gingivitis, gout, and cancer.

It is now accepted that Folic Acid may help counter and combat Alzheimer’s disease.

Folic Acid supplements have a growing body of medical evidence to prove they nourish the brain and can genuinely help bipolar people.

Folic Acid in humans is necessary for the synthesis of nucleic acids and the formation of heme, (the pigmented, iron-carrying component of the hemoglobin in red blood cells). A deficient intake of folic acid can impair the maturation of young red blood cells, resulting in folic-acid-deficiency anemia.

Folic Acid may help prevent strokes, and blood clots. There may also be some folic acid benefits for methotrexate toxicity.

Folic acid helps protect chromosomes, is necessary for the utilization of sugar and amino acids, promotes healthier skin and helps protect against intestinal parasites and food poisoning.

Natural Sources of Folic Acid

Even without taking Folic Acid in a tablet form, you can ensure a high level of it is contained within your day to day diet. Folic Acid can be found in the following foods:

Orange Juice

Liver (avoid if pregnant)


Brewer's Yeast


Enriched Grains

Green Leafy Vegetables


Kiwi Fruit





Jacket Potatoes

Tinned Baked Beans




Egg Yolks

Sunflower Seeds

Pineapple juice


Tomato juice


Bok Choy


Plus many many more foods we consume in our day to day diets.

Other Relevant Facts to Consider.

Folic acid should be taken with Vitamin-B12 to prevent the folic acid from masking a B12 deficiency.

Men who take Folic Acid may have an increased risk of prostate cancer, though this matter needs more study.

Folic acid can have some serious side effects if too much is taken every day. Dangerous levels of consumption are between 5,000 to 10,000 mcg.

People with anemia should not take more than 400 mcg of folic acid per day unless pernicious amenia is first ruled out by your doctor.
It has been suggested that Folic Acid should not be consumed as a sole supplement and should ideally be taken as part of a more comprehensive formula where not only B12 are used, but other important vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids.

Folic acid, when taken after fertility treatment (invitro fertilization) may raise the odds of producing twins.

Severe allergic reactions are occasionally possible. Some signs of severe allergic reactions include rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, and breathing difficulties. If you notice anything that is unusual for you, seek medical attention right away.

Many vitamins are best consumed through food sources; however, Folic Acid is not one of these nutrients. Folic Acid is easily destroyed and the nutrient value is lessened by cooking or storage. In addition to this, the human body doesn’t store Folic Acid for very long. For this reason we need to take this nutrient daily to keep sufficient levels in our systems. Because of this, many experts suggest that Folic Acid supplements should be incorporated into our diet, especially for those people who need more of this nutrient.


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    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Ideally everyone would eat a healthy enough diet to ensure adequate Vitamin intake of any kind Anoop, but in reality many people live 'on the go' and don't have the time to prepare the nutrient rich foods they need in order to maintain healthy vitamin levels. Certainly in the case of pregnant women it is really important they take a Folic Acid supplement as otherwise they may not ingest enough through natural sources. It is always worth making sure your vitamin tablets are purchased from a reputable supplier. As someone who has a very close friend that is extremely well medically qualified and can pretty much ask for whatever salary he wants to work at the local hospital I can vouch for the fact even he strongly advocated in my case extra strong Vitamin B tablets and would most definitely condone the use of Folic Acid tablets from a quality source.

      Out of interest can you provide links to reputable sources that back up your overall opinions as it always helps people to make an informed decision?


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Vitamins will not give you energy and those in real food arucmeh,much more beneficial than any synthetic ones,which can lead to some mineral deficiencies.Research indicates that synthetic vitamins may actually cause nutritional deficiencies. When you take a synthetic vitamin, it needs the co-factors normally found in the whole food, in order to complete its action. If they are not in the foods you eat, it will draw the co-factors from your body. You may feel good for a while but when the co-factors run out, you will begin to feel worse. The majority of vitamins that are sold in pharmacies, grocery stores, and vitamin shops are synthetic vitamins, which are only isolated portions of the vitamins that occur naturally in food.Whole food provide complete vitamins rather than fractions of them. In many cases, whole foods also provide the minerals that are necessary for optimal vitamin activity.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      That does sound like a nightmare situation to be faced with Beth. All I can suggest is that you speak to your Doctor to see what he/she suggests under the circumstances, and in the meantime try to take in Folic Acid naturally through your diet. You may not have the same problem if you eat folic acid rich foods as opposed to taking one big hit all at once in the form of a tablet.

      Good Luck

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i am now in 12 weeks of my pregnancy. i have have experienced skin rash in my body except in my face. it was very itchy. so my OB-GYN refer me to a dermatologist and he told me to stop using my newly change shower gel and lotion it happen also that i switch to a new product. but then after 1 week the rash still there and continue to develop so the dermatologist to me to stop taking my prenatal vitamins and within 2 days rash decline. so after a week we visited back to the dermatologist and he said the the cause of my skin rash is the prenatal vitamins. but hes not sure yet. so since my skin rash has already subsided again i started taking once again my prenatal vitamins just to make it sure. and yes when i took one pill in the morning, during afternoon my skin rash come back so sad. so we decided to stop my prenatal vits. and when we visit to my OB-GYN she told us to take folic acid. and when i started taking it omg! my skin rash comes back now i know that i have this folic acid allergy. can anyone help me? i really wanted to provide all of the vitamins needed for my baby. and its hard for me to think that one of the most essential vitamins needed for my baby's brain development cannot be given due to my allergic reaction. i feel so helpless this time.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Springboard, really appreciate the feedback.

    • Springboard profile image


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Great info. I take a lot of vitamins and supplements now and I firmly believe they keep me healthier. Thanks.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Lorlie, that is excellent to hear and it must be nice for you to see the benefits you have been gaining without even knowing it. Thanks for the feedback.

      Hi Paradise, what lovely feedback from you, I really appreciate it. Nice to know you are planning to ensure plenty of Folic Acid is naturally included in your diet too. Thanks :)

    • Paradise7 profile image


      10 years ago from Upstate New York

      I'm very interested, Misty, and am bookmarking this hub for future reference. You do good work, excellent research and readable articles on health issues. Thank you! Just when I was looking for a list of foods that naturally contained folic acid, there it was, you provided one. Thanks again!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      10 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Hi, Mistyhorizon-I've been taking a 1mg. tablet of folic acid for almost two years and didn't know of all these benefits. Thank you for this most informative hub!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Cojaq, that does seem to be a problem in America which is why I also try to encourage people to grow their own vegetables, even if only on a window ledge, just to up the healthy foods in their diet. Thanks for commenting.

      Hi Suiiki. thanks for popping in. Good suggestion you gave to Bob there. As for your B complex vitamin tablets, there is a good chance it will be included, but check the bottle just in case. :)

      Hi Pat, so glad you enjoyed this. I think most people assume Folic Acid = women and pregnancy, and few realise it is good for BOTH sexes of any age. Your tablets may well include Folic Acid, but check if there is a decent amount of it as sometimes the amount included is rather small. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Bob, hope you do find a way to ensure a good amount of it is in your diet as it really is very good for you and it is important you get plenty in your daily diet as your body won't be able to store it, (Folic Acid is a water soluble vitamin, so any surplus to requirements gets passed through the body and out the other end so to speak). Suiiki's suggestion is a good one. Thanks for stopping by.

    • 2patricias profile image


      10 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Hello Misty, (Pat writing) This is really interesting, as I had thought of Folic Acid as something for women of child-bearing age. Tricia and I both try very hard to have a healthy diet, with plenty of fruit, veg and a good balance.

      I take a multi-vitamin and will look at the label to see if it includes Folic Acid. I will be showing this hub to Tricia - interesting and useful. Thanks.

    • Suiiki profile image


      10 years ago from City of the Newly Wed and Nearly Dead

      Bob: I recommend you get one of those 7-day pill planning boxes and put it somewhere that you will see it every day. It's worked wonders for Amy and me when it comes to remembering to take our supplements and medicines! Her's sits on the computer desk since she checks her email after getting up every morning, and mine generally stays in the kitchen since I prefer to take my supplements with food (Otherwise I get stomach upset from my iron tablets)

      Cindy: I wonder if a good B-complex would have folic acid in it? I'll have to check the bottle. I've been taking one for migraines and regulating my sleep cycle for about a year now and now I'm wondering if it has *everything* in it, or just a few of the B-vitamins.

    • cojaqmarketing profile image


      10 years ago from Carmel, Indiana

      Quite interesting...I know in America, we don't get near enough natural sources of vitamins from fruits and veggies!


    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Gooday Cindy: My problem with pills is I end up forgetting to take them and they end up, unused, and gazing sadly from the rubbish cupboard. So I'll keep an eye on the beneficials foods. Great hub article...Folic acid certainly seems to make for prolific hubbers! Bob

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Ashwin, the tablets are very cheap but well worth taking.

      Hope your phone is okay, at least long enough for you to retrieve your lost information from it :)

    • ASHWINSPGA profile image


      10 years ago from Lion City ( Singapore)

      I have never took any supplements before Miss Misty. Never cared to. But im going to check out these pills. I don't think a banana sandwich every morning can be considered a large amount. Thank you so much.

      p/s Hope my phone starts. :=(

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Great to know you are at least getting some Folic Acid through your food Ashwin, although to get the most benefits tablets will be more concentrated unless you are eating a very large amount of the relevant foods.

    • ASHWINSPGA profile image


      10 years ago from Lion City ( Singapore)

      I have never heard of Folic Acid in my life before and while reading the benefits, i started wondering how much of damage i have caused my body by being this ignorent. Finally letting a sigh of relief when i saw that there were also natural sources for Folick Acid ( Bananas and bread, i eat them almost daily). Thanks for the heads up Miss Misty. Excellent article for people like me.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks rvsrinivasan, I shall certainly read your health hubs also and I appreciate your comment.

      Hi VioletSun, I am really pleased you are already taking B12 and Folic Acid and that you enjoyed this article. Cheers for the comment on my hub :)

    • VioletSun profile image


      10 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Wow, you really reminded of me of the benefits of Folic acid, just took my B-12 and am taking at the moment a daily supplement that has 400 mg of Folic acid. Very well written and thorough article!

    • rvsrinivasan profile image


      10 years ago

      It is very interesting to know more about folic acid. It really gives very useful information about its requirement to our body. I have written certain hubs on health topics. May read and offer your valuable comments.

    • rvsrinivasan profile image


      10 years ago

      It is very interesting to know more about folic acid. It really gives very useful information about its requirement to our body. I have written certain hubs on health topics. May read and offer your valuable comments.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks for that very helpful and useful info "The Rope", and I am pleased you found this hub beneficial. I must tell my Hubby about the follicular benefits as I reckon he could find this helpful to him.

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 

      10 years ago from SE US

      Oh Misty! Thanks for extolling the advantages as well as the risks! Far too many articles about vitamins leave out the risks and add to the consumer's confusion and danger.

      Folic Acid is also incredible for strengthing hair follicles (tip from my hairdresser), my sister is having great results. I personally have been taking a multi-vitamin that has extra B's (including a good amount of Biotin - needed for the body to assimulate the B's appropriately) and my staff call it my "go pills"! I take one around 11:00 in the morning when I feel my energy level staring to dip and within 30 minutes I am re-energized for the rest of the day. I keep a bottle in my drawer and have a parade of people coming in all day to get a "go pill" for themselves. Can't live without my B's! Thanks for sharing!


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