Folic Acid

What other names is Folic Acid known by?

5'-methyltetrahydrofolate, 5'-MTHF, Acide Folique, Acide Ptéroylglutamique, Acide Ptéroylmonoglutamique, Acido Folico, B Complex Vitamin, Complexe de Vitamines B, Complexe Vitaminique B, Dihydrofolate, Folacin, Folacine, Folate, Folinic Acid, L-methylfolate, Methylfolate, Méthylfolate, Pteroylglutamic Acid, Pteroylmonoglutamic Acid, Pteroylpolyglutamate, Tetrahydrofolate, Tétrahydrofolate, Vitamin B9, Vitamine B9.

What is Folic Acid?

Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that is often added to cold cereals, flour, breads, pasta, bakery items, cookies, and crackers. Some foods that are naturally high in folic acid include spinach, okra, asparagus, beans, beef liver, and orange and tomato juice.

Effective for...

  • Treating and preventing folic acid deficiency.

Likely Effective for...

  • Kidney problems.
  • Lowering homocysteine levels in people with kidney disease.
  • Lowering homocysteine levels ("hyperhomocysteinemia") in people with high amounts of homocysteine in their blood. High levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease and stroke.
  • Reducing harmful effects of a medicine called methotrexate.
  • Decreasing the risk of certain birth defects when taken by pregnant women.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Reducing the risk of getting colorectal cancer. Increasing consumption of dietary folate and supplemental folic acid seems to lower the chances of developing colon cancer, but does not seem to help people who already have colon cancer.
  • Reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • Reducing the risk of breast cancer.
  • Depression, when used with conventional antidepressant medicines.
  • Treating a skin disease called vitiligo.
  • Gum problems due to a drug called phenytoin when applied to the gums.
  • Treating gum disease during pregnancy, when used in mouthwash.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other related conditions in people with coronary heart disease.
  • Reducing the possibility of another stroke.
  • Reducing harmful effects of a medicine called lometrexol.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome.

Likely Ineffective for...

  • Treating an inherited disease called Fragile-X syndrome.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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