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How can I get enough folate or folic acid each day?

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Most people can get enough folate by eating a variety of foods because a healthy diet contains plenty of the nutrient. But some people need to supplement with folic acid, the synthetic form of the vitamin. This is particularly important for women before and during pregnancy. They need folic acid to help prevent the birth defects spina bifida and anencephaly.

Multivitamins usually contain 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid, the minimum needed for health. Prenatal vitamins often contain more, since pregnant women need up to 800 mcg daily. Folic acid is also available in stand-alone supplements. Talk to your doctor about how much you need.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.