Folate, also called vitamin B9 or folic acid, plays a crucial role in the formation of red blood cells. It supports healthy adrenal function. This vitamin is important for maintaining the health of the brain and nervous system. Pregnant women need to ensure that they have adequate folate intake during the early stages of pregnancy to lower the risk of congenital disabilities. Beans, nuts, peas, and dark green vegetables are particularly rich in folate. Other ideal food sources include oranges, lemons, strawberries, and bananas. Folate is added to many breakfast cereals and fortified foods. Adults are advised to consume four hundred micrograms of folate each day. Pregnant women need to consume four to eight hundred micrograms per day.
Celiac disease patients are at an increased risk of folate deficiency, so they should speak with their doctor about appropriate supplementation. Research suggests that folate may help reduce the risk of depression and some types of cancer. Individuals who take folic acid supplements could experience nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, confusion, or irritability. The supplements may interact with certain medications. Thus, patients who are considering them should always ask their doctor first. They may need to adjust the doses of other medications.