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Folic acid works to synthesize DNA, ensure effective immune response, and build red blood cells

What does folic acid do? Why do we need folic acid?

This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! Today I’m talking about vitamin B9 also known as folic acid!

Folic acid works to synthesize DNA, ensure effective immune response, and build red blood cells among other important functions. Deficiency in folic acid results in neural tube defects like spina bifida and cleft palate in newborns as well as anemia, cardiovascular disease and susceptibility to infections in adults.

The recommended dietary allowance of folic acid for adults is 400 µg daily, which is revised upward during pregnancy and breast-feeding. In fact, folic acid is so essential to the prevention of birth defects like spina bifida and cleft palate, in 1998 the FDA mandated the addition of 1.4 mg of folic acid per kilogram to refined grain products.

Foods rich in folic acid include lentils, asparagus, spinach, garbanzo beans, and enriched spaghetti and bread.

Folic acid can also be taken as a dietary supplement and most multivitamin and mineral formulations contain sufficient quantities to ensure adequate daily intake.

Folic acid taken as a supplement is generally safe if the upper intake is limited to no more than 1000 µg daily in adults. Nutritional experts propose 400 µg daily as the optimal dosage.

So when it comes to folic acid eat your spinach, spin up a garbanzo bean salad, don’t forget the asparagus and ensure adequate intake daily by consuming a quality multivitamin and mineral supplement – all of this for strong red blood cells, cardiovascular health and immune system performance, to say nothing of preventing birth defects if you are a woman of reproductive age.

This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! thanks for listening and stay tuned for our next segment when I’ll tell why you need zinc to power your path to happiness!

Reference: The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, 2015. Online [available at]: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic Accessed May 25, 2015.