Is Folate The Same As Folic Acid?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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Is folate the same as folic acid? Folate and folic acid are different forms of B9.  Vitamin B9 is considered an essential nutrient that naturally occurs as folate. Vitamin B9 plays a significant role in cell growth and DNA formation.

Some of the negative side effects of low levels of Vitamin B9 are:

  • Birth defects- low levels of Vitamin B9 contribute to potential birth abnormalities.
  • Cancer Risk- Research studies have shown that low levels of folate can potentially increase the risk of various types of cancer.

Is folate the same as folic acid? Photo Credit: iStock-Volha Barysevich

The main difference between folate and folic acid is that folic acid is a synthetic form of B9. But folate is a natural occurring form of B9. If you want to obtain Vitamin B9 it is always the best choice to obtain it from food. Some healthy high folate foods are:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Lettuce

It is important to understand that not all folic acid will convert to Vitamin B9 in your digestive system. It needs to be converted in your liver and other tissues. The conversion is a slow process and doesn’t happen right away.

Research studies show that a small dose of 200 to 400 mcg per day will not be metabolized until the next dose.  But there is a research study that shows that combining folic acid while consuming this with whole fortified foods makes the conversion more efficient.

According to the American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists pregnant women should get at least 600 micrograms of folic acid daily. Some of the foods that have folic acid are cereals, orange juice, rice, nuts, seeds, avocado, bananas, citrus fruits, pasta, etc.

The Bottom Line is folate is the same as folic acid, but it has different forms of Vitamin B9. Folate or folic acid can be consumed in Vitamin B supplements or whole foods.

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