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  Oct 17, 2018

What is Folic Acid?

Folic acid is a part of the B complex of vitamins. It is vital for red blood cells and for many other cells in the body. The form of folic acid occurring naturally in food is called ‘folate’.

Functions of folic acid

Folic acid, along with vitamin B12, is important for formation of red blood cells. Lack of these two vital nutrients leads to variety of anemia called macrocytic anemia. This means the red blood cells appear bloated and large and have a reduced capacity to carry oxygen.

Folate along with other B vitamins are also vital for nerve function. Folate is essential for the formation of DNA (genetic material) within every body cell. This allows normal replication of cells.

Biochemically folates act as chemicals that medicate one-carbon transfer reactions. These are important for formation of purines and pyrimidines. These purines and pyrimidines form basic building blocks for DNA.

Folate requirements

Most of the required folate in men and non-pregnant women are obtained from a healthy and well-balanced diet. Pregnant and breast feeding women and children during their growing years require folate in their diet. In pregnant women, for example, lack of folate in diet can lead to severe nerve defects lik