Nutrient Information: Folate, total (Vitamin B-9)

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Nutrient Key Information 
Nutrient Name: Folate, total (Vitamin B-9)
Nutrient Category: Vitamins and Other Components
Unit Name: µg
Nutrient Summary: Folate is also called Vitamin B9. It functions as a coenzyme in the synthesis of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and metabolism of amino acids (Protein). Body needs folate to make DNA, and to make cells to divide.
Nutrient Function:

  • Folate becomes a coenzyme which is required for the synthesis of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) of new cells
  • Play key role in cell multiplication, growth and function
  • Is important in red blood cell formation
  • Help protein amino acids metabolism. It helps to break down the amino acid homocysteine which contributes to the formation of blood clots and atherosclerotic lesions. So folate may prevent from some heart diseases.
  • Is an essential component of prenatal vitamins, it prevents birth neural tube defects in a baby's brain or spine. It is extremely important to take adequate folate 1 month before conception and continue into the first trimester of pregnancy.

Folate includes:
1. Food folate: naturally occurring form of folates in food. Its chemical structure contains up to 6 glutamate molecules (polyglutamate)
2. Folic acid or synthetic folate: the folate in fortified foods and dietary supplements contains 1 glutamate molecule (monoglutamate)

Food folate is about 50% lower bioavailable than folic acid. The recommended daily value for folate uses DFE which stands for Dietary Folate Equivalents. DFE is the amount in Food Folate form. DFE value listed in the food label has been adjusted for the differences in the absorption of food folate and folic acid.

• DFE = μg food folate + (1.7 x μg folic acid)

When folate is absorbed from foods or supplements, it is in the Inactive form (has a CH3 attached). Vitamin B12 removes CH3 from folate and attaches it to itself to activate itself and the folate. Now both folate coenzyme and vitamin B12 coenzyme are available for DNA synthesis.

As a B vitamin, Folate is water-soluble. Body stores about half folate in the liver and the remainder in blood and body tissues.


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Food Sources

• Dark green vegetables, such as spinach, mustard greens, asparagus, and brussels sprouts
• Legumes, beans, and peas, such as lentils, chickpeas, and pinto beans
• Fruits, such as oranges and orange juice, avocados
• Chicken and beef livers
• Enriched with folic acid grain products, such as bread, cereal, pasta, rice

Notes:
1. Heat during cooking and oxidation in storage can destroy as much as half of the folate in foods.

Sample Foods High in: Folate, total (Vitamin B-9)
View Additional Food Sources
Food Description Nutrient Amount1 Daily Value%2
Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt
Category: Legumes and Legume Products
181 µg 45.25%
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt
Category: Legumes and Legume Products
172 µg 43.00%
Turnip greens, raw
Category: Vegetables and Vegetable Products
194 µg 48.50%
Spinach, raw
Category: Vegetables and Vegetable Products
194 µg 48.50%
Soybeans, mature seeds, sprouted, cooked, stir-fried
Category: Vegetables and Vegetable Products
127 µg 31.75%
Chicken, liver, all classes, cooked, pan-fried
Category: Poultry Products
560 µg 140.00%
Seeds, sunflower seed kernels from shell, dry roasted, with salt added
Category: Nut and Seed Products
237 µg 59.25%
1 Nutrient amount is in 100 gram food
2 Use FDA 2000 calorie diet as Daily Value reference



Additional Nutrient Information
Nutrient Summary Folate is also called Vitamin B9. It functions as a coenzyme in the synthesis of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and metabolism of amino acids (Protein). Body needs folate to make DNA, and to make cells to divide.
Deficiency Health Effects Folate deficiency impacts the replacement of red blood cells and GI tract cells.

Red blood cells replacement or multiplication failure: chronic inadequate folate intake results in macrocytic anemia. At first, erythrocyte count gets lower, and then hematocrit and hemoglobin value get lower. Moderate to severe macrocytic anemia may have the symptoms:

• Weakness and fatigue
• Difficulty in concentrating and mental confusion
• Irritability and depression
• Headache
• Shortness of breath

GI tract cells replacement failure: folate deficiency impacts the replication of cells lining the GI tract which can cause GI tract deterioration and failure to absorb other nutrients.

Notes:
1. Coexisting deficiencies of folate and iron or vitamin B12 may interfere with the diagnosis of their deficiencies because all of them may lead to hematological changes.
2. Some medicines may interfere with the body’s folate function.
Effects if Above Upper Limit The Upper Limit value of folate does not include naturally occurring food folate. And no adverse effects have been associated with the excess consumption of the amounts of folate normally found in fortified foods.

Excess folate from supplement may obscure and potentially delay the diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency which can result in an increased risk of progressive and unrecognized neurological damage. Large doses of folate supplements might also worsen the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
External References



Daily Value Age Group Recommended Daily Values Daily Value Upper Limits
Toddler 1 to 3 years old: 150 µg 300 µg
Child 4 to 8 years old: 200 µg 400 µg
Male 9 to 13 years old: 300 µg 600 µg
Male 14 to 18 years old: 400 µg 800 µg
Male 19 to 30 years old: 400 µg 1,000 µg
Male 31 to 50 years old: 400 µg 1,000 µg
Male 51 to 70 years old: 400 µg 1,000 µg
Male Senior 71 or older: 400 µg 1,000 µg
Female 9 to 13 years old: 300 µg 600 µg
Female 14 to 18 years old: 400 µg 800 µg
Female 19 to 30 years old: 400 µg 1,000 µg
Female 31 to 50 years old: 400 µg 1,000 µg
Female 51 to 70 years old: 400 µg 1,000 µg
Female Senior 71 or older: 400 µg 1,000 µg
Female Pregnancy (>18): 600 µg 1,000 µg
Female Lactation (>18): 500 µg 1,000 µg
FDA (Based on 2000 calorie daily diet): 400 µg


Dietary Reference Intakes The nutrient Dietary Reference Intakes and nutrition facts is from Institute of Medicine of National Academies 2006. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11537
US FDA Nutrition Education Nutrition facts knowledge are based on U.S. FOOD & DRUG Administration Nutrition Education Resources & Materials. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/interactivenutritionfactslabel/
National Institutes of Health Nutrition facts knowledge are based on National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all
Disclaimer The nutrient information provided here should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (such as your doctor) about your dietary requirements which are best for your overall health. We also recommend you to read organization or professional reference documents or articles mentioned, but not limited to, in this page. Any mentions and reference links in this page don't represent our endorsement of their services and advice.


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