What is the purpose of folic acid in the body?


Quick Answer

Folic acid is a B vitamin that encourages new cell growth in the body, according to MedlinePlus. It is responsible for DNA creation and optimal body function, states WebMD. It synthesizes RNA, aids rapid cell division and growth, and produces healthy red blood cells, claims Medical News Today.

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Full Answer

Folic acid can help correct low folate levels in the body, as well as treat anemia and inadequate nutrient absorption. Folic acid is also used to treat memory loss, ulcerative colitis, liver disease, kidney dialysis, claims WebMD.

March of Dimes also recommends that women of childbearing age take folic acid on a regular basis, as it can prevent birth defects, specifically neural tube defects, yet only if taken before and during the pregnancy. Because nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, states the March of Dimes, it is important that women take folic acid regularly to ensure any possible children are protected from these defects.

Sources of folic acid are found in dark green vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli and spinach, as well as egg yolks, lentils and oranges. Medical News Today warns against overcooking these foods as overcooking can reduce nutrient content. However, folic acid can also be taken in pill form.

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