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What B Vitamin Is Folic Acid

How Can I Be Sure I Get Enough Folic Acid

What is Vitamin B Complex?

You can get enough folic acid from food alone. Many breakfast cereals have 100% of your recommended daily value of folic acid.

If you are at risk for not getting enough folic acid, your doctor or nurse may recommend that you take a vitamin with folic acid every day. Most U.S. multivitamins have at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Check the label on the bottle to be sure. You can also take a pill that contains only folic acid.

If swallowing pills is hard for you, try a chewable or liquid product with folic acid.

What Form Does Vitamin B Come In

There are eight B vitamins total, and these are available in foods such as protein, vegetables, and fortified products. Vitamin B is also available in supplement form, either as single B vitamins or as a B-Complex vitamin containing all eight B vitamins. Vitamin B supplements are available at Walgreens as softgels, tablets, gummies and tonics.

What Is Vitamin B

Vitamin B refers to a group of water-soluble vitamins that play an important role in keeping us healthy. These vitamins can help enzymes in the body function by retaining energy from the food we eat and moving nutrients through our cells and bodies. There are eight B vitamins, and each plays a different role with specific bodily functions. We can get vitamin B from the foods we eat, but taking supplements may help us get extra nutrients if we are having trouble getting enough vitamin B in our diets.

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What Happens If You Get Too Much Vitamin B Complex

Youre unlikely to get too much vitamin B complex from your diet. Thats because B complex vitamins are water soluble. That means they arent stored in your body but are excreted in your urine daily.

Youre also unlikely to get too much vitamin B if youre taking any supplementation as directed.

That said, as with most supplements, its possible to consume too much at once especially if youre taking a supplement without receiving a deficiency diagnosis from your doctor.

When consumed in excess, a few different B vitamins can have specific side effects. For instance:

  • Vitamin B6. Too much B6 may lead to peripheral neuropathy, which is a loss of feeling in the arms and legs.
  • Folate or folic acid. Too much of this vitamin can cover up the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can eventually lead to nervous system damage.
  • Niacin. Too much niacin may cause skin flushes. Long-term excessive use may lead to liver damage.

While there isnt enough research to say exactly what will happen if you consume too much B complex, more is not necessarily better, especially over the long term.

Vitamin B: Pantothenic Acid

Now Foods, Folic Acid with Vitamin B

Pregnancy can do some strange and frustrating things to our bodies, one of which is painful leg cramps. Luckily, vitamin B5 can help to ease these cramps, so aim to consume 6 mg every day. It also has the added benefit of producing important pregnancy hormones.

Whole grains and fortified cereals are a fabulous source for B5 so thats breakfast covered, but youll also find the vitamin in egg yolks, brown rice, cashew nuts, and broccoli, all of which are perfect ingredients for a delicious and nutritious stir fry! Below are several other sources of B5.

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Why Is Vitamin B9 Necessary

Vitamin B9 is essential for human growth and development, encourages normal nerve and proper brain functioning, and may help reduce blood-levels of the amino acid homocysteine . Folic acid or folate may also help protect against cancers of the lung, colon, and cervix, and may help slow memory decline associated with aging.

Pregnant women have an increased need for folic acid: it supports the growth of the placenta and fetus, and helps to prevent several types of birth defects, especially those of the brain and spine. Pregnant women and women of child-bearing age should take extra caution to get enough folic acid .

What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin B

Vitamin B has many benefits for our bodies. Some B vitamins help produce DNA, get energy from our food, and promote the growth and development of cells in our bodies. Not getting enough vitamin B can lead to diseases or conditions such as anemia, or leave us feeling lethargic and low energy. Research is ongoing into additional benefits of vitamin B.

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What Does The Department Of Health Advise

You should be able to get the amount of niacin you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take niacin supplements, don’t take too much as this might be harmful.

Taking 17mg or less of nicotinic acid supplements a day or 500mg or less of nicotinamide supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm.

Best Overall: Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual Action

Folic Acid and You: Your Healthy Pregnancy


  • NSF certified & ConsumerLab top pick

  • Contains at least 100% of all eight B vitamins

  • Slow release tablet

  • Contains spirulina, which may not be beneficial for all

Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual Action stands out as a ConsumerLab Top Pick for B-complex supplements, containing all eight of the B vitamins in a dual action slow-release tablet that dissolves over eight hours. It releases B12 and B2 quickly, then slowly releases the other B vitamins throughout the day, providing you with 125% to 417% of your daily B vitamin needs. It’s also certified by NSF, so you can feel extra confident that it contains exactly what’s on the label with no harmful contaminants.

This supplement provides vitamin B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin. In addition to the B vitamins, it contains 75 milligrams of spirulina, a type of blue green algae that contains protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. While the amount of spirulina in this supplement may be too low to have any effect, spirulina may lower blood pressure, slow blood clotting, increase immune system activity, and lower blood sugar. Please talk to a healthcare provider before starting this supplement if you are taking medication for diabetes, immunosuppressants, or anticoagulants.

Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual Action is a great supplement to take to ensure you are getting adequate B vitamins in your diet, without providing too much above the recommended intake.

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What Foods Contain Folic Acid

Folic acid is added to foods that are refined or processed :

  • Breakfast cereals
  • Breads and pasta
  • Cornmeal
  • White rice

Since 1998, the Food and Drug Administration has required food manufacturers to add folic acid to processed breads, cereals, flours, cornmeal, pastas, rice, and other grains.9 For other foods, check the Nutrition Facts label on the package to see if it has folic acid. The label will also tell you how much folic acid is in each serving. Sometimes, the label will say “folate” instead of folic acid.

What Is Folic Acid

Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that is normally found in foods such as dried beans, peas, lentils, oranges, whole-wheat products, liver, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach.

Folic acid helps your body produce and maintain new cells, and also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer.

As a medication, folic acid is used to treat folic acid deficiency and certain types of anemia caused by folic acid deficiency.

Folic acid is sometimes used with other medications to treat pernicious anemia. Folic acid used alone will not treat pernicious anemia and other anemias not related to Vitamin B12 deficiency. Take all of your medications as directed.

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What Do I Need To Tell My Doctor Before I Take Vitamin B12

  • If you are allergic to Vitamin B12Folic Acid any part of Vitamin B12-Folic Acid or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.

This medicine may interact with other drugs or health problems.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Vitamin B12-Folic Acid with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

Women Of Reproductive Age Need 400 Mcg Of Folic Acid Every Day

Folic Acid with Vitamin B
  • All women of reproductive age should get 400 mcg of folic acid every day to get enough folic acid to help prevent some birth defects because
  • About half of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned, and
  • Major birth defects of the babys brain or spine occur very early in pregnancy , before most women know they are pregnant.
  • When taking folic acid, a higher dose than 400 mcg of folic acid each day is not necessarily better to prevent neural tube defects, unless a doctor recommends taking more due to other health conditions.
  • When planning to become pregnant, women who have already had a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect should consult with their healthcare provider. CDC recommends that these women consume 4,000 mcg of folic acid each day one month before becoming pregnant and through the first 3 months of pregnancy.

Learn more about the recommended intake level of folic acid here.

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How Much Folic Acid Is Needed To Prevent Neural Tube Defects

CDC and the US Public Health Service urge every woman who could become pregnant to get 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid every day.

One easy way a woman can be sure she is getting enough folic acid is to take a vitamin that has folic acid in it every day. Most vitamins sold in the United States have the recommended daily amount of folic acid that women need to prevent neural tube defects. Vitamins can be found at most local pharmacy, grocery, or discount stores.

You can get your vitamin with folic acid in one of several ways. You can take a multivitamin or a small, single supplement of folic acid. These days, multivitamins with folic acid come in chewable chocolate or fruit flavors, liquids, and large oval or smaller round pills. Many stores offer a single folic acid supplement for just pennies a day.

Another good choice is a store-brand multivitamin, which includes most of the vitamins you need each day. Unless your doctor suggests a special type, you do not need to choose among vitamins for women or active people, or one for people who are on a low carbohydrate diet. A basic multivitamin meets the needs of most women.

Another way to get folic acid is to eat enough breakfast cereal that has been enriched with folic acid every day. Amounts of folic acid in cereals vary, so be sure to check the label on the side of the box to make sure youre getting an adequate amount.

Vitamin B Roles For Pregnancy Cheat Sheet

Heres a handy cheat sheet to help you remember exactly how each B vitamin can support you and your growing baby throughout pregnancy.

  • B-1 : 1.4 mg Supports babys healthy brain development
  • B-2 : 1.4 mg Keeps eyes healthy and skin glowing
  • B-3 : 18 mg Eases morning sickness, keeps nausea at bay and improves digestion
  • B-5 : 6 mg Reduces leg cramps and helps produce essential pregnancy hormones
  • B-6 : 25 50 mg Aids the development of babys nervous system and brain
  • B-7 : 30 mcg Deficiency is often caused by pregnancy, so increased consumption is vital
  • B-9 : 400 800 mcg Plays a huge role in reducing the risk of birth defects
  • B-12 : 2.6 mcg Maintains and supports the development of you and your babys nervous system

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Sample Collection And Biochemical Analyses

At baseline and after 2 years of intervention, blood samples were collected from all 92 participants. Serum levels of folate and vitamin B12 were determined using electrochemiluminescence immunoassays . Depending on the study center, plasma levels of homocysteine were measured using the Architect i2000 RS analyzer , HPLC , or LC-MS/MS method . According to a cross-calibration, outcomes of the three centers did not differ significantly .

Australia And New Zealand

Folic Acid Supplements Shown To Reduce Risk Of Autism

Australia and New Zealand jointly agreed to wheat flour fortification through the Food Standards Australia New Zealand in 2007. The requirement was set at 135 µg of folate per 100 g of bread. Australia implemented the program in 2009. New Zealand was also planning to fortify bread starting in 2009, but then opted to wait until more research was done. The Association of Bakers and the Green Party had opposed mandatory fortification, describing it as “mass medication.” Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson reviewed the decision to fortify in July 2009, citing as reasons to oppose claims for links between over consumption of folate with increased risk of cancer. In 2012 the delayed mandatory fortification program was revoked and replaced by a voluntary program, with the hope of achieving a 50% bread fortification target.

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Benefits Of The Combined Action Of Vitamin B12 B6 And Folic Acid

Listed below are the benefits of consuming the Vitamin B12, B6, and Folic Acid combination. Lets look at them one by one.

  • Maintenance of the optimal levels of B vitamins to aid cardiovascular health.
  • Reduction of homocysteine levels to prevent heart conditions such as cognitive heart failure.
  • Promotion of heart health.

Do You Need A B12 Supplement

Your doctor may ask you to supplement B12 with folic acid if you are vitamin B12 deficient before pregnancy. Both of these supplements together will help prevent birth defects in developing babies as well as helps combat defects that affect the spine and central nervous system. Prenatal vitamins should help with most deficiencies, ask your doctor if you have any questions.It is important to note that while the Institute of Medicine does not set an upper limit because of B12s low potential for toxicity, you should still speak with your doctor before adding in an additional B12 supplement if you are not deficient.

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Roles Of Vitamin B In Pregnancy

Maintaining a healthy & balanced diet at all stages of life is important, but when youre pregnant you have even more reason to take care of your body to ensure your little one grows into a healthy, bouncing baby! B vitamins, which youll often hear referred to as the vitamin B complex, are particularly important aspects of your nutrition during pregnancy, especially vitamins B6, B9, and B12. These three specifically help minimize the risk of birth defects as well as relieve some symptoms of pregnancy.

This is why taking quality prenatal vitamins is a great way to assure you are getting all the vitamins you and baby need for a healthy pregnancy. Of course, prenatal vitamins are not meant to replace a healthy diet, but to support one.

Signs You Do Not Get Enough Vitamin B2


Riboflavin deficiency signs include anemia, magenta , skin rash, dermatitis, dryness and cracking around the mouth, nose, and/or lips. You also have a B2 deficiency risk if you are lactose intolerant or anorexic. Be sure you are eating nutrient-rich foods AND taking a prenatal vitamin.

If you are dealing with an eating disorder while pregnant, please dont hesitate to speak with your healthcare provider. They can provide you with help, suggestions, and resources!

Contact a Pregnancy Educator at the American Pregnancy Association by calling 1-800-672-2296 M-F 10am-6pm to discuss your concerns, get resources, or to ask questions about your pregnancy.

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Vitamin B: Folic Acid

Its fairly common knowledge that folic acid is one of the most important B vitamins to take during pregnancy and for a very good reason. The proper amount of folic acid reduces the risk of your baby developing neural tube birth defects like spina bifida. Its also responsible for helping to produce red blood cells which are obviously important for both you and your growing baby.

You should be consuming 400 800 mcg of vitamin B9 every day throughout your entire pregnancy, which translates to 0.4 0.8 mg . If youre trying to conceive its also recommended that you consume this same amount of folic acid to maximize your chances of getting pregnant.

On top of this, try to increase your consumption of foods which naturally contain the vitamin.

Treating Mental Health Conditions

Folate is involved in the production of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Consuming too little folate has been linked to depression, schizophrenia, and other mental health conditions.

For example, people with depression may have lower blood levels of folate than people without depression .

A 2022 review of studies suggests that folic acid and folate supplements may help reduce symptoms of mental health conditions such as postpartum depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder .

Taking folate supplements in addition to antidepressant medication may reduce depression symptoms more than taking antidepressant medication alone .

A review of seven studies found that treatment with folate supplements plus antipsychotic medication may improve symptoms in people with schizophrenia more than antipsychotic medication alone (

However, larger, more robust studies are needed to further support these findings.

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What Are Common Signs Of Vitamin B Deficiency

B vitamin deficiencies can result in a number of symptoms.

For example, a deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause vague symptoms such as fatigue, pale skin and conjunctiva , tingling in the hands, memory problems, and headaches .

A deficiency in vitamin B6 can cause cracking of the corners of the mouth, depression, and weakened immune function .

A deficiency in folate or B12 can cause elevations in an amino acid called homocysteine, which can increase the risk of heart disease, impaired thinking ability, and skeletal issues .

Many potential symptoms related to B vitamin deficiency can also be symptoms of other underlying health issues. Therefore, its important not to self-diagnose and to always visit a healthcare professional for appropriate testing.


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