Folate is a B vitamin that plays some pretty vital roles in keeping our body in working order - from the formation of healthy red blood cells to the development of healthy and happy babies in the womb! While this essential vitamin can be found naturally in foods, it’s well-known sidekick folate can only be found in supplements and fortified foods.
See also: 8 Foods to Boost Folate
What’s the difference between folate and folic acid?
Folate and folic acid are different terms for the same B-vitamin. And, while it’s common for folate and folic acid to be referred to interchangeably, there are some pretty important differences to note, these include:
- Folate is the form of vitamin found naturally in foods
- Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, meaning its man-made
What is folate?
Folate, also commonly known as vitamin B-9, is a water-soluble B vitamin. It plays an essential role in the formation of DNA and other genetic material and is particularly important for newborn babies as it helps in developing their nervous system.
As it is a water-soluble vitamin, it dissolves in water and isn’t stored in your fat cells. This means that you need to make sure you are getting enough folate, as your body cannot keep a reserve.
What is folic acid?
Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate which can be found in supplements or fortified foods such as bread, cereal, rice and pasta.
Although it’s possible to get the right amount of folate through eating a balanced diet, it’s difficult for women who may be considering having a child or are currently pregnant to get enough folate from their diet alone - this is why folic supplements are recommended during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
See also: What Causes Low Folate?
If you’re interested in knowing more about your folate levels, you can find out more by visiting your doctor or by taking an at-home lab test from the comfort of your own home.
LetsGetChecked’s range of at-home Vitamin Tests allow you to monitor your vitamin levels - including folate. Online results will be available within 5 days and our medical team will be on hand to help you every step of the way.
You should consider taking the test if:
- You are trying to get pregnant
- You are pregnant
- You have had gastrointestinal surgery
- You have digestive disorders like Crohn's or Coeliac disease
- You are (or were) an alcoholic
- You maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet
- You are experiencing symptoms of anemia
- You have a vitamin B12 deficiency
- You have a seizure-causing condition and are taking anticonvulsant drugs
See also: How do you Check Your Folate Levels?