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Folic Acid

Folic acid is needed for DNA synthesis. DNA allows cells—including cells in the fetus when a woman is pregnant—to replicate normally. Adequate intake of folic acid early in pregnancy is important for preventing most “neural tube” birth defects as well as some birth defects of the arms, legs, and heart. It also appears to protect against cleft palate and cleft lip formation in most though not all studies. Folic acid is needed to make “SAM” (S-adenosyl methionine), which affects (and may improve) mood. Folic acid is also needed to keep homocysteine levels (an amino acid) levels in blood from rising. Excess homocysteine dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and may be linked to osteoporosis and strokes. Where is it found? Beans, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beets, wheat germ, and meat are good sources of folic acid.

In what conditions might folic acid be supportive?

  • abnormal Pap
  • atherosclerosis
  • chemotherapy support
  • Crohn’s disease
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • gingivitis (periodontal disease)
  • gout
  • high cholesterol
  • HIV support
  • osteoporosis
  • pregnancy and postpartum support
  • vitiligo
  • ulcerative colitis