Folic Acid or Folate - There is a Difference

Today's nutrient is Folic Acid, also known as Folate.  But, once again (as we've seen with other vitamins), while portrayed to the public as identical, they are not.  Humans are not able to make their own folate, so it is something we need to eat.  Natural sources of folate include leafy greens (collard greens, spinach), citrus fruits, legumes (black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans), liver, eggs, diary products, asparagus, and nutritional yeast.

Folate is critical to the metabolism of nucleic acids and amino acids.  Because of this, it supports overall growth and development and blood cell formation and supports normal growth of the fetus.  Folic acid was added to many foods to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects, in fact there was a mandate to add folic acid to all cereal grain to products in the US.

So, what was discovered?  Well, you guessed it.  From the good intentions of the food police we now have several studies suggesting that over consumption of folic acid to colon, lung, and prostate cancers.  If you are taking folic acid as a supplement you may want to revisit that and look for companies that use natural folate in their products.

Here's a link to the article in Prevention Magazine explaining this: Prevention Magazine article


Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Thiensville. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.