Folic Acid (Folate, Folacin, Vitamin B9)
Folic Acid is an essential water-soluble vitamin that has many critical uses within the body.
Amongst its roles are:
- the production and maintenance of new cells
- preventing changes to DNA
- fetal development
- production of key chemicals for the brain and nervous system
Our bodies cannot produce Folic Acid and very little can be stored by the body.
We must get Folate from foods and supplements. Depletion can occur quite rapidly so regular, preferably daily, intake is required. Supplements are highly advisable for pregnant women (note that Vitamints contain an insufficient dose of Folic Acid for pregnant women).
Processing, cooking in water, defrosting and even long storage will remove Folic Acid from foods
Folic Acid occurs in low concentrations in many natural foods, but is quite easily lost. Foods that are a good source of Folic Acid include: liver, green leafy vegetables, legumes and some fruits.
Your lifestyle may increase the risk of deficiency
Aside from a poor diet, deficiencies can occur due to:
- alcohol intake
- heavy exercise
- high stress
A mild Folic Acid deficiency causes few symptoms but can raise the risk of birth defects and heart disease.
|Age||Estimated Average Requirements (EAR)||Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)|
|Men||all||320 mcg/day||400 mcg/day|
|Women||all||320 mcg/day||400 mcg/day|
|Pregnancy||all||520 mcg/day||600 mcg/day|
|Children||1-3 yr||120 mcg/day||150 mcg/day|
|Children||4-8 yr||160 mcg/day||200 mcg/day|
|Children||9-13 yr||250 mcg/day||300 mcg/day|
|Children||14-18 yr||330 mcg/day||400 mcg/day|
* Source: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. National health and Medical Research Council
|Age||Maximum Dose (from fortified foods or supplements)|
|Pregnancy||14-18 yr||800 mcg/day|
|Pregnancy||19-50 yr||1,000 mcg/day|
|Children||1-3 yr||300 mcg/day|
|Children||4-8 yr||400 mcg/day|
|Children||9-13 yr||600 mcg/day|
|Children||14-18 yr||800 mcg/day|