Home > Drugs A – Z > Folic Acid

Folic Acid

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

By mouth

Treats certain types of anemia (not enough red blood cells). Is also given as a supplement to women who are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant… Read more

Brand names include: FA-8, Falessa

By injection

Treats anemia… Read more

Drug classes About this
Nutriceutical, Nutritive Agent
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Folic acid for fragile X syndrome

People with fragile X syndrome (or FXS) have intellectual limitations that can range from mild to severe. Fragile X syndrome is considered the most common form of inherited intellectual disability and it has been estimated that it affects approximately 1 in 4000 males and 1 in 8000 females. Folate is particularly important during the early development of the brain and in later life is involved in methylation processes that are essential for the maintenance of normal brain function. It was observed that cells from patients with fragile X syndrome cultured in solutions deficient in folic acid revealed a fragile site at the X chromosome; consequently it was thought that individuals with fragile X syndrome had low folate levels in their bodies, which may be due to insufficient dietary intake, inefficient absorption or impaired metabolic utilisation. It was argued that supplementing their dietary intake might help improve the adverse developmental and behavioural effects of the condition.

Folic acid supplementation in pregnancy

Folate is a naturally occurring vitamin while folic aid is the synthetic replacement of folate used in most supplements and in fortified foods. Folate is essential as its deficiency can be caused by poor dietary intake, genetic factors or the interaction between genetic factors and the environment. Women with sickle cell disease and those women in areas where malaria is endemic have a greater need for folate and in these areas anaemia can be a major health problem during pregnancy. Women need more folate in pregnancy to meet their need for extra blood and to meet the growing baby's need for blood. Without adequate folate intake in a mother's diet, she can become anaemic and this can contribute to her baby being small, anaemic and born too early (preterm birth). Folic acid supplementation taken before conception can reduce the chance of the baby having neural tube defects. This review looked to see if taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy could reduce the chance of the baby being born too early and of low birthweight and to see its impact on the mother’s blood (hematological values), folate levels and on pregnancy complications.

Effects and safety of preventive oral iron or iron + folic acid supplementation for women during pregnancy

During pregnancy, women need iron and folate to meet both their own needs and those of the developing baby. The concern is that if pregnant women become deficient in these nutrients they are unable to supply them in sufficient quantities to their baby. Low folate nutrition before conceiving increases the risk of the baby having neural tube defects. Low iron and folate levels in women can cause anaemia, which can make women tired, faint, and at increased risk of infection.

See all (217)

Summaries for consumers

Folic acid for fragile X syndrome

People with fragile X syndrome (or FXS) have intellectual limitations that can range from mild to severe. Fragile X syndrome is considered the most common form of inherited intellectual disability and it has been estimated that it affects approximately 1 in 4000 males and 1 in 8000 females. Folate is particularly important during the early development of the brain and in later life is involved in methylation processes that are essential for the maintenance of normal brain function. It was observed that cells from patients with fragile X syndrome cultured in solutions deficient in folic acid revealed a fragile site at the X chromosome; consequently it was thought that individuals with fragile X syndrome had low folate levels in their bodies, which may be due to insufficient dietary intake, inefficient absorption or impaired metabolic utilisation. It was argued that supplementing their dietary intake might help improve the adverse developmental and behavioural effects of the condition.

Folic acid supplementation in pregnancy

Folate is a naturally occurring vitamin while folic aid is the synthetic replacement of folate used in most supplements and in fortified foods. Folate is essential as its deficiency can be caused by poor dietary intake, genetic factors or the interaction between genetic factors and the environment. Women with sickle cell disease and those women in areas where malaria is endemic have a greater need for folate and in these areas anaemia can be a major health problem during pregnancy. Women need more folate in pregnancy to meet their need for extra blood and to meet the growing baby's need for blood. Without adequate folate intake in a mother's diet, she can become anaemic and this can contribute to her baby being small, anaemic and born too early (preterm birth). Folic acid supplementation taken before conception can reduce the chance of the baby having neural tube defects. This review looked to see if taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy could reduce the chance of the baby being born too early and of low birthweight and to see its impact on the mother’s blood (hematological values), folate levels and on pregnancy complications.

Effects and safety of preventive oral iron or iron + folic acid supplementation for women during pregnancy

During pregnancy, women need iron and folate to meet both their own needs and those of the developing baby. The concern is that if pregnant women become deficient in these nutrients they are unable to supply them in sufficient quantities to their baby. Low folate nutrition before conceiving increases the risk of the baby having neural tube defects. Low iron and folate levels in women can cause anaemia, which can make women tired, faint, and at increased risk of infection.

See all (43)

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...