Vital for new cell creation. Helps prevent brain and spine birth defects when taken early in pregnancy; it should be taken regularly by all women of child-bearing age since women may not know they are pregnant in the first weeks of pregnancy. Can lower levels of homocysteine and may reduce heart disease risk May reduce risk for colon cancer. Offsets breast cancer risk among women who consume alcohol
FOLIC ACID (vitamin B9, folate, folacin)
M: 400 mcg, W: 400 mcg
Fortified grains and cereals, asparagus, okra, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, legumes like black-eyed peas and chickpeas, orange juice, tomato juice
Many people don't get enough of this nutrient. Occasionally, folic acid masks a B12 deficiency, which can lead to severe neurological complications. That's not a reason to avoid folic acid; just be sure to get enough B12.