It works together with vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help the body break down, use and create new proteins. It also helps make red blood cells and produce DNA, and carries essential genetic information in the human body.
Folic acid also helps cell development and tissue growth. It prevents and helps reduce the risk of certain congenital defects such as spin bifida and anencephaly in pregnant women or women who are planning to get pregnant, either naturally or through assisted reproduction treatments.
It can also be used for specific problems with menstruation and leg ulcers.
Adults are recommended to take at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. Pregnant women need even higher levels of folic acid.
Folic acid is naturally present in the following foods:
– Green and leafy vegetables like lettuce. In natural cooked asparagus, tomatoes, spinach which is also rich in iron, and beetroot
– Legumes like peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, broad beans and soybeans
– Nuts like peanuts
– Cereals like corn and whole grains found in Brown bread such as oats, wheat germ and wheat bran
– Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, avocado, strawberries, bananas which are also rich in potassium and melon
– Poultry, chicken/beef liver, turkey, pork and seafood
For the proper absorption of folic acid it’s important to avoid smoking, drinking, the ongoing use of certain anti-inflammatory drugs such as oral contraceptives, sedatives, sleeping pills, diuretics and certain antibiotics.