Folate deficiency - Prevention
Deficiency - folic acid, Folic acid deficiency
The best way to get the daily requirement of all essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide plate. Most people in the United States eat enough folic acid because it is plentiful in the food supply.
Folate occurs naturally in the following foods:
- Beans and legumes
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Wheat bran and other whole grains
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Poultry, pork, and shellfish
The Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board recommends that adults should have 400 micrograms of folate daily. Women capable of becoming pregnant should receive this amount with folic acid supplements, not just fortified foods, to ensure the proper daily intake.
Specific recommendations depend on a person's age, gender, and other factors (such as pregnancy). Many foods now have extra folic acid added to help prevent birth defects.
See Folic acid in diet for the full folic acid requirements by age group.
See Folic acid and birth defect prevention for more information on folic acid requirements during pregnancy.
- Reviewed last on: 6/14/2011
- A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital (8/9/2009).
Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemias. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 170.
Hamrick I, Counts SH. Vitamin and mineral supplements. Wellness and Prevention. 2008;35:729-747.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the
diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be
consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all
medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not
constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-
A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885