Folic Acid & Folate

Folic Acid & Folate

Vitamin B9, more commonly known as folate (naturally occurring form of B9) or folic acid (a synthetic form), is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B vitamin family.

From supporting fetal development and growth to preventing cognitive decline and dementia, folate is essential throughout every stage of life.

It is best to get vitamin B9 from top Folate and Folic Acid Foods such as asparagus, avocados, brussels sprouts, and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce, or beef liver and fortified rice. Named vegetables are even the namesake of folate; folate has the Latin word “folium” which literally means leaf, and these are healthy green foliage. However, folic acid can also be found in fortified breakfast cereals, flour, pasta, rice, beans, lentils, orange juice, broccoli, beef liver, and strawberries. So, what is the difference?

Folate Deficiency

Folate deficiency typically occurs due to poor diet, alcoholism, or issues with nutrient absorption, also is often found coupled with other nutrient deficiencies.

For instance, Folic acid deficiency anemia, known as “megaloblastic anemia,” is the main clinical sign of low folic acid and B12.

Anemia can happen when your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Your body needs red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body tissues. Folate deficiency anemia can also cause your body to produce abnormally large red blood cells that do not function properly.

Other symptoms of folate deficiency can include:

Sometimes certain medications can cause folate deficiency such as phenytoin (Dilantin) trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, methotrexate, sulfasalazine. Other causes of folate deficiency can include the following:

  • Digestive system diseases: Your digestive system doesn’t absorb folic acid well if you have a disease such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease.
  • Excessive alcohol use: People who drink copious amounts of alcohol sometimes substitute alcohol for food. As a result, they do not get enough folate.
  • Overcooking your fruits and vegetables: When you overcook, the heat can destroy the naturally occurring folate in your produce.
  • Hemolytic anemia: A blood disorder that occurs when your red blood cells are destroyed and can’t be replaced fast enough.
  • Kidney dialysis: A treatment for people with kidney failure.

Folic vs. Folate

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there are several differences between the two.

Folate is naturally found in food sources like fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Folic acid, on the other hand, is the synthetic form of folate and can be taken in supplement form or found in fortified foods like enriched flour, pasta, cereal, bread, and rice.

In the world of nutrition folate generally refers to sources of vitamin B9 obtained from natural sources that are coenzyme activatable such as levomefolic acid, while vitamin B9 made synthetically is referred to as folic acid.

Interestingly enough, some studies have found that folic acid is more well-absorbed than folate from food sources. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007 Feb;85(2):465-73. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/85.2.465 Bioavailability of food folates is 80% of that of folic acid, Renate M Winkels 1, Ingeborg A Brouwer, Els Siebelink, Martijn B Katan, Petra Verhoef)

The following are some reasons Folic Acid is used in the industry vs. Folate:

  • Folic acid is more heat-stable than natural food folate, which is broken down easily by heat and light; therefore, folic acid is better suited for food fortification because many fortified products, such as bread, are baked.
  • Folic acid has been shown to be effective in preventing neural tube defects (NTD) in randomized control trials and food fortification programs.
  • Folic acid is absorbed easily by the body, and studies have shown that it can increase blood folate concentrations (the amount in the blood) across populations (including those with the MTHFR TT genetic variant).
  • No scientific studies exist that show that supplements containing other forms of folate, such as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), can prevent neural tube defects.

Folic Acid Benefits!

People who are at high risk of strokes and heart disease may greatly benefit by taking folic acid supplements. An elevated blood level of the amino acid homocysteine has been identified as a risk factor for some of these diseases. Elevated levels of homocysteine have also been found to contribute to problems with osteoporosis. Folic acid, together with vitamins B6 and B12 help breakdown homocysteine.

Folate and Folic Acid Benefits are:

  • Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy
  • May Decrease Cancer Risk
  • Supports Heart Health
  • Support to Build Strong Bones
  • May Improves Cognitive Function

Pregnant women have an increased need for folic acid, both for themselves and their child. Folic acid is necessary for the proper growth and development of the fetus. Adequate intake of folic acid is vital for the prevention of several types of birth defects, particularly neural tube defects (NTD).

Folate Blood Test Normal Range

The results of this test differ from person to person based on age, gender, and medical condition. Test results are provided in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). A normal range for vitamin B-12 is 200 to 900 ng/mL and the normal range for folic acid is 2.7 to 17.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or 6.12 to 38.52 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L).

How To Maintain Normal Folate Levels in Blood?

Recommended “Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs) by US FDA for adults and children above four years of age is four hundred Micrograms DFE (Dietary Folate Equivalents), and for pregnant and lactating women is six hundred Micrograms DFE (Dietary Folate Equivalents).

The best way to maintain normal folate levels in the blood is to take the required amount of folate either through foods or supplements. Some individuals need higher doses due to poor absorption or lower levels than normal. Every now and then go for a folate blood test to know if you have this important vitamin in enough level.

Always talk to your doctor before starting on any vitamin regimen.


We at Frunutta provide our customers with one of the best vitamin B-9  (and combination of B12, B2 and folic acid, homocysteine formula) so our customers can have a healthy choice. Our under the tongue Micro Quick Absorb technology you will absorb your Folic Acid vitamin tablet quickly and easily under the tongue without concern for lack of absorption.

We at Frunutta want to make your hectic life a little easier and healthier!

This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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