Folic Acid: Food, Supplements and Dosage

We tell you which foods are richer in folic acid, how to cook and manipulate them so that they do not lose their properties, in which cases it is recommended to take dietary supplements of folic acid, what are the recommended doses and their effects of toxicity.


Folic acid or Vitamin B9 performs important functions within the body, especially when it comes to tissue and DNA construction (so it is so important to maintain good levels of folic acid during pregnancy ).

Folic acid is a delicate vitamin . On the one hand it is water soluble and, therefore, very sensitive to external agents that require certain considerations when cooking food so that they do not lose their properties. On the other hand, the body has little capacity to retain it , which necessitates its daily consumption since it is easily eliminated by the urine . And finally, not all forms of folic acid are equally usable for the body.

Do not worry! In this article we tell you the keys to maintaining good levels of folic acid : what foods are rich in this vitamin, how to cook them to maintain the nutrients, how to take supplements and what is the advantage of taking them, what synergies do with other nutrients, recommended doses and effects of toxicity.

What are the foods richest in folic acid?

Folic acid can be found both in the plant kingdom and in the animal , but it is not always directly available to the body, as it undergoes transformations during the metabolism of food that make it into active and usable forms. Consuming folic acid as a dietary supplement is much more effective as it has a very high absorption capacity. However, when we get it from the diet , the use is approximately 50% .

We’ll tell you what precautions to take to get the most out of folic acid in food. For now, let’s see which are the ones that have the most (ordered from most to least, that is, those who have the most, first):

    • Beer yeast
    • Cornflakes
    • Wheat germ
    • Spinach
    • Endive
    • Broccoli
    • Lettuce
    • Liver
    • Banana
    • Soy
    • Beet
    • Chickpeas

If you decide to get folic acid from  meat , be careful to buy it organic, since the liver is one of the organs that is most easily intoxicated as the most depurative. That is to say, all the hormones, drugs and pesticides coming from the industrial animal husbandry end up depositing in the liver of the animals and other viscera that, when ingesting them, pass to your body. If you are going to eat liver or other viscera … buy them from organic origin! It is more important than it may seem at first glance.

How to Cook to Preserve Folic Acid

Like all water-soluble vitamins, folic acid is very sensitive to heat and other external factors, so it is very important to take into account some precautions when cooking and handling food:

    • The heat

      The folic acid is very sensitive to heat. To get the most amount of folic acid , it is best to consume raw foods whenever you can. When it is necessary to cook, it is advisable to simmer and for a short time .

    • Cooking water

      As it is also water soluble, the vitamin quickly passes water and separates from food. For this reason, it is convenient that we use little water and, once cooked, do not waste , since most of the water soluble vitamins will be found in it. About 10 minutes of cooking, most of the folic acid or much of it is lost , especially when we cook with the microwave. The best: steamed.

    • Time

      The time that passes from collecting the food until it is consumed is also important in obtaining a better yield of this vitamin. In other words, it is important to consume foods as fresh as possible , since conservation also greatly reduces their vitamin properties.

Folic Acid Supplements

As we said before, folic acid supplements are better used by the body than when this vitamin comes from food. In fact, folic acid supplementation is especially recommended in:

    • Pregnancy and lactation
    • Prevention of Alzheimer’s
    • Prevention of senile dementia
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Cancer Prevention
    • Chron’s disease
    • Anemia
    • Alcoholism and drug addiction
    • Use of antivitamin drugs
    • Poor food

Folic acid interaction with other elements

These circumstances mentioned above necessitate the extra contribution of folic acid as a dietary supplement . In these cases, it is important to take into account some considerations and interaction with other elements:

    • The vitamin C protects folic acid oxidation (ie, make good synergy, it is appropriate to take them together)
    • The iron , copper and manganese destroy folates
    • Interacts well with Vitamin B12 . In fact, in orthomolecular therapy, it is recommended to consume folic acid in equal quantity to Vitamin B12, that is, to take them together in equal proportions.
    • There are specialists who suggest that green tea can interfere with the absorption of folic acid

Recommended doses of folic acid

    • Infants . 50mcgs per day
    • Boys and girls . 100-300mcgs per day
    • Adults . 400mcgs per day
    • Pregnant . 800mcgs per day
    • Nursing mothers . 500mcgs per day

The orthomolecular therapy can be used to correct the biochemical balance of the body under certain conditions, much higher doses can range from 3,000 to 10,000 micrograms per day . Of course, any therapy with large doses requires the monitoring and supervision of a specialized person or health professional . This is a general advice, but especially in the case of folic acid, since, unlike other water-soluble vitamins that are easily discarded by the urine, folic acid does have toxicity effects in high doses of Supplements.

Toxicity and overdose of folic acid

Although there are no known negative effects of consuming large doses of folic acid from foods, this is not the case with vitamin supplements. Ingestion of high doses ( from 100mcgs ) is necessary to take into account its side effects:

    • Taking large doses of folic acid can hide serious deficiencies of vitamin B12 (anemia)
    • High doses of folic acid can cause seizures
    • If you have heart disease , taking large doses of folic acid and Vitamin B6 may make the problem worse (consult a specialist)
    • In case of cancer , do not take more than the recommended daily doses, since it could tax the problem (consult specialist).
    • Take special care if you are taking any type of medication (consult a specialist)

If you are pregnant or are planning to take folic acid supplements for any other reason, it is important to know your functions and symptoms of lack , to know if you are in the risk group or if you really need it or not.

Since all the vitamins of group B act in good synergy , it is also interesting to know the properties of each of them: Vitamin B1 or Timaina , B2 or Riboflavin , B3 or Niacin , B5 or Pantothenic Acid , B6 or Pyridoxine , Choline , Inositol , B8 or Biotin, B12 or Cyanocobalamin .

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