Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin and is a general term used for all forms of the vitamin, including the form found naturally in foods (also called food folate) and the synthetic form known as folic acid, found in fortified foods and supplements. Folate coenzymes serve as 1-carbon donors or acceptors in a variety of chemical reactions, including those involved in amino acid metabolism, synthesis of purines and pyrimidines (DNA and RNA precursors), and formation of S-adenosylmethione, a methyl donor. Research strongly supports a role for folic acid in birth defect risk reduction, making this an important nutrient for older girls and all women of child-bearing capability. Other potential health benefits include those related to cardiovascular health, cancer, and cognitive function.

Food Sources and Intake Recommendations

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