What is folic acid? Folic acid, also known as folate and folacin, is an important B vitamin. Folate and folacin are naturally found in food. Folic acid is the form found in pills/supplements or added to food, such as white flour, enriched pasta and enriched cornmeal.
Folic acid is important to make healthy red blood cells. Taking folic acid supplements before becoming pregnant and during pregnancy is important for the development of your baby’s eyesight, spine and brain. Low blood levels of folate early in pregnancy increases the risk of your baby’s spine developing a "neural tube defect", resulting in a malformation of the spine called spina bifida.
How much folic acid do you need?
All women who could become pregnant, are pregnant or are breastfeeding should eat a diet rich in folate. They should also take a daily multivitamin that contains at least 0.4 mg of folic acid (400 µg), but no more than 1 mg per day.1 Talk to your health care provider about the best folic acid supplement for you.