Folate works together with Vitamin B12 and is needed to build important proteins used throughout the body. Some of these proteins are vital for neural function, proper cell replication and division, and blood cells.
Folate deficiency leads to megaloblastic macrocytic anemia and the symptoms of fatigue, weakness, headaches, irritability, difficulty concentrating, shortness of breath, and palpitations.
Sources & Absorption:
The body is unable to store Folate for later use, therefore it must be consumed daily or every few days. Good sources of Folate include mushrooms, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, turnip greens, other green vegetables, okra, peanuts, lima beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, other beans, lentils, strawberries, oranges, other fruit, and liver. Some Folate is lost during cooking, and is therefore more abundant in raw fruits and vegetables than cooked ones. Alcohol and a chemical found in seeds, peas, beans, lentils, carob, peanuts, cabbage, and oranges reduces absorption.
Since Folate is not stored in the body, there appears to be little to no risk of toxicity from consuming it. However, Folic Acid, the synthetic form of Folate, has recently been linked to breast cancer and other health problems and is therefore not recommended.
* This information is not intended to encourage self-supplementation. As you will read in individual nutrient content, self-supplementation can be unnecessary or even dangerous. I highly recommend micro-nutrient blood testing before choosing to take any supplements that are not whole-foods based.
Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; 2009.
Mahan L, Escott-Stump S, Raymond J. Krauses's food and the nutrition care process. 13th ed. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Saunders; 2012.
Linda Beeker, RDN
I love sharing the power of nutrition - a gift of God's design.