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**Definition and Importance of Folate**:
Folate encompasses various forms like folic acid, tetrahydrofolic acid, and folinic acid.
– Historic names include L.⁠casei factor, vitamin B, and vitamin M.
Folate is essential for DNA and RNA synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and cell division.
Folate is crucial during periods of frequent cell division, such as infancy and pregnancy.
Folate is naturally found in many foods, while folic acid is a manufactured supplement.

**Health Effects and Nutritional Recommendations**:
Folate deficiency affects DNA synthesis and cell division, impacting hematopoietic cells and neoplasms significantly.
Folate insufficiency is linked to neural tube defects in pregnant women.
– Recommended daily intake is 400 micrograms of folic acid to prevent NTDs.
Folate is vital for reproductive health in men and women.
– Multi-year folic acid supplementation can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

**Relationship Between Folate and Diseases**:
Folate plays a role in preventing heart disease and cancer.
– Chronic folate insufficiency may increase the risk of various cancers.
– Folic acid supplementation has shown mixed results in reducing cardiovascular disease risk.
Folate is crucial for fetal organ development and plays a role in anti-folate chemotherapy.

**Neurological and Metabolic Functions of Folate**:
Folate and vitamin B are essential for converting homocysteine to methionine, impacting cognitive health.
Folate is crucial for DNA synthesis, RNA synthesis, and methionine synthesis.
Folate deficiency may be linked to neurological disorders like dementia and depression.
Folate interacts complexly with vitamin B and iron, affecting their balance in the body.

**Chemical Reactions and Dietary Recommendations**:
– Tetrahydrofolates transport single-carbon groups in metabolism for biological molecule synthesis.
Folate derivatives are essential for DNA synthesis and various cellular metabolic reactions.
– Dietary recommendations include the DFE system, absorption rates of folic acid and natural folate, and DRIs and Dietary Reference Values.
Folate is involved in one-carbon metabolism, red blood cell formation, and preventing megaloblastic anemia.

Folate (Wikipedia)

Folate, also known as vitamin B9 and folacin, is one of the B vitamins. Manufactured folic acid, which is converted into folate by the body, is used as a dietary supplement and in food fortification as it is more stable during processing and storage. Folate is required for the body to make DNA and RNA and metabolise amino acids necessary for cell division. As the human body cannot make folate, it is required in the diet, making it an essential nutrient. It occurs naturally in many foods. The recommended adult daily intake of folate in the U.S. is 400 micrograms from foods or dietary supplements.

Folic acid
Skeletal formula
Clinical data
Pronunciation/ˈflɪk, ˈfɒlɪk/
Trade namesFolicet, Folvite
Other namesWills factor, FA, N-(4-{[(2-amino-4-oxo-1,4-dihydropteridin-6-yl)methyl]amino}benzoyl)-L-glutamic acid, pteroyl-L-glutamic acid, folacin, vitamin B9; formerly, vitamin Bc and vitamin M
License data
  • AU: A
Routes of
By mouth, intramuscular, intravenous, subcutaneous
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
  • AU: S4 (Prescription only) / S2
  • US: ℞-only / OTC
Pharmacokinetic data
  • (2S)-2-[[4-[(2-Amino-4-oxo-1H-pteridin-6-yl)methylamino]benzoyl]amino]pentanedioic acid
CAS Number
PubChem CID
PDB ligand
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
ECHA InfoCard100.000.381 Edit this at Wikidata
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass441.404 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
Density1.6±0.1 g/cm3
Melting point250 °C (482 °F) (decomposition)
Solubility in water1.6mg/L (25 °C)
  • n1c2C(=O)NC(N)=Nc2ncc1CNc3ccc(cc3)C(=O)N[C@H](C(O)=O)CCC(O)=O
  • InChI=1S/C19H19N7O6/c20-19-25-15-14(17(30)26-19)23-11(8-22-15)7-21-10-3-1-9(2-4-10)16(29)24-12(18(31)32)5-6-13(27)28/h1-4,8,12,21H,5-7H2,(H,24,29)(H,27,28)(H,31,32)(H3,20,22,25,26,30)/t12-/m0/s1

Folate in the form of folic acid is used to treat anemia caused by folate deficiency. Folic acid is also used as a supplement by women during pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the baby. Low levels in early pregnancy are believed to be the cause of more than half of babies born with NTDs. More than 80 countries use either mandatory or voluntary fortification of certain foods with folic acid as a measure to decrease the rate of NTDs. Long-term supplementation with relatively large amounts of folic acid is associated with a small reduction in the risk of stroke and an increased risk of prostate cancer. There are concerns that large amounts of supplemental folic acid can hide vitamin B12 deficiency.

Not consuming enough folate can lead to folate deficiency. This may result in a type of anemia in which red blood cells become abnormally large. Symptoms may include feeling tired, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, open sores on the tongue, and changes in the color of the skin or hair. Folate deficiency in children may develop within a month of poor dietary intake. In adults, normal total body folate is between 10 and 30 mg with about half of this amount is stored in the liver and the remainder in blood and body tissues. In plasma, the natural folate range is 150 to 450 nM.

Folate was discovered between 1931 and 1943. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines. In 2021, it was the 77th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 8 million prescriptions. The term "folic" is from the Latin word folium (which means leaf) because it was found in dark-green leafy vegetables.

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