Much confusion exists about the difference between folate and folic acid. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Folate is a naturally occurring water soluble vitamin found in leafy green vegetables and fruits. Folic acid is a synthetically produced version of folate that is added to food products and supplements. While both are important for health, folate is the more biologically active form of the two. It is essential for pregnant women because it helps guard against birth defects of the brain and spine. All pregnant women should take a prenatal supplement that contains folate.
What is Folate?
Folate is a water soluble vitamin and is mainly found in leafy green vegetables and fruits. It is important for the metabolism of nucleic acids and plays a key role in DNA synthesis. It helps to prevent neural tube defects in an unborn baby. Folate can be found in supplements, fortified foods, and natural foods. Folate intake should be adequate for people of all ages, but it is especially important for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B-vitamin family. It is mainly found in leafy green vegetables and fruits. Folic acid is important for the development of the neural tube. It helps to prevent major birth defects in the baby’s brain and spine. All women of childbearing age should take a daily supplement of folic acid, even if they are not planning to become pregnant. Good sources of folic acid include fortified breakfast cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, and legumes.
Difference between Folate and Folic Acid
Folate and folic acid are both types of B vitamins. Folate is the natural form of the vitamin, while folic acid is the synthetic form. Both folate and folic acid are important for pregnant women to take, as they help to prevent birth defects. However, there are some key differences between the two. Folic acid is absorbed more easily by the body than folate, making it more potent. In addition, folic acid can build up in the body to levels that are toxic, while folate cannot. For these reasons, it is important to be careful about taking too much folic acid. Pregnant women should speak with their doctor about how much folic acid they need to take.
So, what’s the bottom line? Folate and folic acid are both important for pregnant women, but they have different roles. Folate helps to form the neural tube in the baby’s brain and spine, while folic acid is responsible for making red blood cells. It is especially important that pregnant women get enough folate because a lack of this nutrient can lead to birth defects like spina bifida. However, you don’t need to worry about taking too much folate – as long as you’re not exceeding 1,000 micrograms per day from all sources, you should be good. On the other hand, it is possible to overdose on folic acid so it’s best to stick within the recommended 400-600 micrograms per day range.