Folate/folic acid

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Folate is a B vitamin consisting of multiple interconvertible chemical forms that are involved in cellular one-carbon metabolism, which is essential for purine and pyrimidine synthesis (for incorporation into DNA and RNA), amino acid interconversions, methylation reactions, and the generation and use of formate. The classical clinical manifestation of folate deficiency is megaloblastic anemia. Other consequences of folate deficiency include elevated plasma homocysteine or hyperhomocysteinemia (a risk factor for vascular disease), cancer initiation, neurological and cognitive impairment, depression, neural tube defects, and other negative birth outcomes. Fortification of cereal and grain food products with folic acid, the synthetic supplement form of folate, was first instituted in the US and Canada in the mid-to-late 1990s and has significantly reduced the incidence of neural tube defect affected pregnancies, as well as the overall prevalence of folate deficiency in the general population. Folic acid fortification, along with folic acid supplement use, may have additional influences on cancer rates, vascular disease, fetal and child development, and the severity of manifestations of vitamin B12 deficiency, though such effects are controversial and require further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Human Nutrition
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-4, Fourth Edition
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780323908160
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


  • Cancer
  • Cognition
  • DNA
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Folate
  • Folic acid
  • Fortification
  • Homocysteine
  • Megaloblastic anemia
  • Methionine
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase
  • Neural tube defects
  • RNA
  • S-adenosylmethionine
  • Vitamin B12


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