Folate, or folic acid, is a type of B vitamin that aids in the production and repair process of DNA and red blood cells. If you don’t have enough folate in your diet, you may end up with folic acid deficiency. Not eating enough natural sources of folate may cause deficiency symptoms within a matter of weeks. Deficiency can also occur if you have a disease or genetic mutation that prevents your body from absorbing or converting folate into its usable form.

Certain medications can also cause folic acid deficiency, such as phenytoin (Dilantin), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, methotrexate and sulfasalazine. Excessive alcohol intake also interferes with the body’s natural ability to absorb folic acid.

Folate is especially important for women of childbearing age. Folate deficiency in pregnant women can lead to life altering birth defects. To prevent folic acid deficiency, it is important to eat foods high in folate, such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits and whole grains.

Folic acid deficiency symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Headaches
  • Mouth sores
  • Weight Loss/Not Feeling Hungry
  • Ringing in Ears

Check with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Although most people get enough folate from a healthy diet, it is recommended for women of childbearing age to take at least 400 mcg of folic acid a day.

If you have questions about folic acid, make sure to discuss them with your physician. Don’t forget to check out our website for more information on the benefits of folic acid.