The practicing physician today is confronted by a seemingly endless array of pharmaceutical preparations that contain varying amounts of folic acid, vitamin B12, or both, with or without the addition of other vitamins, minerals, liver concentrates, or sources of "intrinsic factor." The improper use of preparations containing folic acid and/or vitamin B12 may prove futile at best, and at the worst, dangerous to the patient. It is desirable, therefore, to review briefly the nature and metabolic functions of these two vitamins and the indications for their use in medical practice.
Folic acid (pteroylglutamic acid; folacin) is an essential nutrient belonging to the vitamin B complex. Its distribution in foods is not completely known, largely because it occurs in nature in conjugated forms that have been difficult to measure with accuracy. The extent to which these conjugated forms are broken down and absorbed from dietary sources remains
Unglaub WG, Goldsmith GA. FOLIC ACID AND VITAMIN B12 IN MEDICAL PRACTICE. JAMA. 1956;161(7):623–627. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.62970070006015
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