Folate and folic acid are different forms of Vitamin B. The first is found naturally in food. The second is the synthetic form, which is usually found in supplements.
The Brooklyn Hospital in the United States explains the functions that this vitamin has in the human body:
Why is folate important?
- It helps tissues to grow and is part of cell function.
- It helps the body break down, use and create new proteins.
- Aids in the production of DNA, the foundation of the human body that transports genetic information.
What can a folate deficiency cause?
- Greying hair
- Mouth sores
- Stunted growth
- Swelling of the tongue (glossitis)
- It can also cause certain types of anemia
Because it is difficult to get enough folate from food, women who are thinking about getting pregnant need to take folate supplements. Taking the correct amount before and during pregnancy helps prevent certain neural tube defects. Taking higher doses can decrease the chances of a miscarriage.