Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. It’s a synthetic version of folate, one of the B vitamins.
Because your body can’t make folate, you need to get it from your diet.
Your body uses folate to:
Make and repair DNA
Help cells grow, divide, and work properly
Produce certain proteins
Help red blood cells mature
Folic acid supplements are commonly used to prevent fetal development issues in pregnant people. Low levels of folate can be associated with health risks, and a deficiency of this essential nutrient may be caused by a medical condition.
Folic acid for pregnancy
Folate plays essential roles in a baby’s development.
It’s involved in cell division and tissue growth. It also helps the baby’s brain and spine, called the neural tube, develop. Taking folic acid both before and during pregnancy can help prevent neural tube irregularities such as anencephaly and spina bifida.
Folic acid supplements help support pregnancy, reduce pregnancy-related complications, and reduce the chance of fetal development issues.