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Definition of «Folate»

Folate: Folic acid, one of the B vitamins that is a key factor in the synthesis (the making) of nucleic acid (DNA and RNA).

A deficiency of folic acid after birth causes a kind of anemia, namely, megaloblastic anemia in which there is a paucity of red blood cells and those that are made are unusually large and immature (so-called blast cells).

Lack of adequate folic acid during pregnancy was first found to increase the risk for the baby to have a birth defect involving the spinal cord and brain -- a neural tube defect such as spina bifida (meningomyelocele) or anencephaly.

The association was then investigated between the mother's use of drugs that act as folic acid antagonists in the first trimester of pregnancy and the birth of a child with a congenital malformation (birth defect). It was found that folic acid antagonists increased the risk not only of neural tube defects but also of congenital heart malformations, cleft lip and palate , and urinary tract defects. Folic acid. it now is clear, reduces the risks for a remarkably broad gamut of birth defects.

In order for folic acid to be effective in preventing these birth defects, the vitamin must be consumed every day beginning before conception and continuing through the first three months of pregnancy. Educating women (and their doctors) about the importance of folic acid is going to require a major effort. According to one study, only 10% of women know that folic acid should be taken before pregnancy.

For More Information «Folate»

  • Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Folate - Office of Dietary ...

    Folate: What is it? Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and added to ...

  • WHFoods: folate - The World's Healthiest Foods

    Description. What is folate? Folic acid, also called folate or folacin, is a B-complex vitamin most publicized for its importance in pregnancy and prevention of pregnancy ...

  • Folate (folic acid) - MayoClinic.com - Mayo Clinic

    Mayo Clinic offers award-winning medical and health information and tools for healthy living.

  • Folate

    Folate, a B vitamin, plays a critical role in many biological processes. It participates in the crucial biological process known as methylation and plays an important ...

  • What is Folate?

    Folate is vitamin B9 which can be found in leafy green vegetables. Folic acid, which is folate in supplement form, is important...

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