Folate or folic acid functions as co-enzymes in the metabolism of amino acids and nucleic acid (e.g. DNA). Adequate folate intake is important for proper cell division and formation of red blood cells. Hence, inadequate folate intake may results in anemia. Liver, green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli and asparagus), orange juice, fortified grain products and dried beans are excellent sources of folate.
Folate and pregnancy
Pregnancy increases folate requirement, especially during the periods of rapid foetal growth (2nd and 3rd trimester). This increased requirement is to support the increasing maternal blood volume and to reduce risk of serious birth defects (e.g. Neural Tube Defects, NTD). A pregnant woman requires 600µg of folate each day.