Folate (a B vitamin -- B9 to be exact) is water-soluble, which means you have to get some folate in every day because any extra gets passed along in your urine. There isn’t a folate “bank” to draw from on those days when spinach and liver (both good sources of folate) just don’t sound as good as a pepperoni pizza and cheese sticks. This means that if you are living mainly on a diet of junk food, with little or no fruit and veggies in your diet, you could be at risk for folate deficiency. Other factors that put you at risk for folate deficiency include certain medications, such as the anti-seizure drug phenytoin, celiac disease, alcoholism, pregnant women in their third trimester especially, and hemolytic anemia.
Finally, even if you are a fruit and vegetable pro, make sure you’re cooking them properly. Overcooking them zaps a lot of the nutrients.Questions? Concerns? Talk to your doc. He or she can talk to you about your usual diet. Be honest -- it won’t help you any if your doc thinks you eat spinach 12 times a day. If you are really worried, your doc can probably check your level of folate with a quick blood test. If you are low, your doc will help you figure out ways to raise your folate, both with a supplement and with a healthier diet.