Folic Acid is part of the water-soluble Vitamin B complex and functions as a coenzyme together with Vitamins B12 and C in the breakdown and utilization of proteins.
Folic Acid is necessary for proper brain function being concentrated in the spinal and extra cellular fluids.
The word Folate, another name for folic acid, is derived from the term foliage, which indicates where this vitamin is found: in green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, and romaine) as well as oranges, beans, rice, brewers yeast, and liver.
The recommended Dietary Allowance of Folic Acid is 400 micrograms for adults, 800 micrograms during pregnancy, and 600 micrograms during lactation. Stress and disease increase the body’s need for Folic Acid, as do the consumption of alcohol, for the elderly and use of medications.
Deficiency of Folic Acid results in poor growth, graying hair, glossitis (tongue inflammation), gastrointestinal tract disturbances arising from inadequate dietary intake (diarrhea, lesions, and impaired absorption), excessive demands by tissues of the body and metabolic disturbances.
Physicians have given 150 milligrams of Folic Acid to children and 450 milligrams to adults, both daily, with no report of toxicity. (1)
- Nutrition Almanac: Fourth Edition, by Gayla J. Kirschmann, McGraw-Hill pp. 64-66.