Many know that folic acid plays a major role in early fetal development. In addition, folic acid reduces the risk of congenital disorders of the spine and the brain.

Remember, this nutrient is important for everyone. Folic acid, a form of vitamin B-9, plays a significant role in treating strokes and cardiovascular disease, can reduce the risk of some cancers, and may aid in treating depression.

Everyone should get 400 micrograms (This is equal to 667 micrograms daily folate equivalents; this term is used on modern food labels.) of folic acid daily. Folate is a general term for any form of vitamin B. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate. Leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and beans naturally contain folate. The food you eat is the best way to get folic acid. Many refined grains, such as rice, pasta, bread, and cereal, have folic acid added to them to support this mission.

Researchers estimate that the average American consumes about 140 mcg. of folic acid each day from enriched foods. Luckily, people who cannot get the recommended amount of folic acid from their diets can take folic acid supplements. If you believe you are not meeting the recommended amount of folic acid daily, speak with your healthcare provider to determine if you need a supplement.

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