Folate and Folic Acid, Explained

Folate: you’ve probably heard of it. You probably know it’s a vitamin. But what is it, and why do you need it?

Also known as vitamin B-9, folate is an essential micronutrient found naturally in many foods. B vitamins help the body convert food into energy for fuel, and are important in the formation of red blood cells.

Folate is also involved in the metabolism of several amino acids, and the methylated form of folate (the kind your body can use, and the type found in Quick Vita Kick), plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of the nervous system.

Folate also helps the body build DNA, and to protect DNA from potentially harmful mutations, including those that may be cancerous. In fact, some studies associate folate-rich diets with lower risks of colon, breast, stomach, and cervical cancers.

And when folate teams up with the other B vitamins (also found in Quick Vita Kick), together they form a B-vitamin complex that helps support the health of liver, skin, hair, eyes, and heart. Talk about squad goals!

 

Folate vs. Folic Acid:

While they sound similar, folate and folic acid are actually not interchangeable. Folate is the reduced form of the vitamin, and the form found naturally in foods and in tissues in the human body.

Folic acid is the vitamin’s oxidized form, which is fancy way of saying oxygen has been added to the molecule. This is the form found in most fortified foods and dietary supplements. To make use of it, the body must convert it to a useable methylated form in the liver.

But not everyone can. About 40-60% of the population can’t successfully convert synthetic folic acid to the methylated form. To top it off, the unmethylated form of the vitamin may build up in the bloodstream, which can actually be harmful.

Unlike most supplements, Nuzest Quick Vita Kick contains the activated (L-methylated) form of folate, so the body does not have to convert it. The L-methylated form of folate is highly bioavailable, meaning the body can make good use of it.

If you find yourself getting more excited about L-methylated folate than you ever thought possible, we feel you. We’re excited about it too, which is why Nuzest is one of the few supplements that contains it over the cheaper folic acid form of the vitamin.

 

How much folate do I need?

The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest healthy adults consume about 400 micrograms of folate or folic acid per day, but the amount varies based on age, lifestyle, and the bioavailability of the form of the vitamin being consumed (more on that below).

Because it plays such a vital role in cell growth and division, it’s especially important to make sure you’re getting enough during periods of growth, including infancy, development, and pregnancy.

And because humans cannot store amounts of large amounts of folate in the body the way it can with certain vitamins (like fat soluble vitamins), it’s important to get folate from the food you eat on a regular basis.

Folate deficiency can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, poor growth, gingivitis, depression, anemia, headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and confusion. But one of the most serious health complications of folate deficiency can occur when pregnant women don’t get enough. This is why you see high levels of folic acid in prenatal vitamins.

Expecting mothers who do not consume enough folate risk delivering babies with neural tube defects (abnormal development of the neural tube), which can negatively impact the development of the brain, spinal cord, and quality of life for the infant.


Sources of folate in foods:

Leafy greens like spinach and collard greens are naturally rich in folate. Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, papaya, oranges, avocados, sunflower seeds, peanuts, flax, almonds, strawberries and raspberries also contain high levels of folate.

Many legumes, including lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, and Nuzest’s star ingredient, peas, and are natural sources of the vitamin, as well.

Bread, flour, cornmeal, pasta, rice, and other grain products must now all contain folic acid, per a 1996 FDA mandate that aimed to reduce risks of neural tube defects.

It should be noted, however, that organic brands do not have to follow this regulation, so be sure to check nutrition labels if you have a concern.

 

How can I add more folate to my diet?

If you are concerned you’re not getting enough folate, try adding more fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and leafy greens mentioned above, and consider adding some Nuzest Quick Vita Kick to your diet.

 

References:

Gropper, SS, Smith, JL. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, Sixth Edition. Wadsworth: Belmont, CA. 2013.

Mayer, J. USDA-ARS Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111.

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Folate Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. 20 Apr 2016. Web. URL: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/

Smith AD, Kim Y-I, Refsum H. Is folic acid good for everyone? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008;87(3):517-33.

USDA Food and Drug Administration. Foods to be Fortified With Folic Acid. June 1

Wright AJ, Dainty JR, Finglas PM. Folic acid metabolism in human subjects revisited: potential implications for proposed mandatory folic acid fortification in the UK. British Journal of Nutrition. 2007;98(04):667-75.

This article written by

Katherine Baker

More articles by Katherine Baker

Nutrition & Diet

Related Articles

Cliff Harvey

What to look for in a multivitamin

A lot of people take multivitamins, but in my clinical experience, many don’t really look at what’s in their multi and whether it is, in fact, the best option for them. Continue reading to find out what to look for in a multivitamin and why.  In the first part of this article, we discovered that many people […]

View

Nuzest Team

4 Simple Nutrition Tips to Boost Immunity and Avoid Illness

Did you know that many of the symptoms linked with colds and flus are actually caused by your body’s own response to viruses and bacteria? By implementing four simple changes to your everyday life, you can boost immunity and stay well for longer. Nutrition plays a large role in boosting the immune system – here […]

View

Katherine Baker

Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12: you’ve probably heard of it, specially if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. But what is it? And why is it important? Here’s everything you need to know about why you should make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin B12, and how to do so. B12, Explained: Vitamin B12, known in the nutrition […]

View

Nuzest Team

Thaumatin: Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein Natural Sweetener

Ever wondered how Nuzest gets its sweet taste without artificial sugars or even Stevia? The answer is thaumatin: a low-calorie sweetener and flavor modifier. The protein is primarily for its flavor-modifying properties and not exclusively as a sweetener. [*] The thaumatins were first found as a mixture of proteins isolated from the katemfe fruit (Thaumatococcus Daniell […]

View