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JAMA Patient Page
December 13, 2006

Folic Acid

JAMA. 2006;296(22):2758. doi:10.1001/jama.296.22.2758

Folic acid (also called folate) is one of the B vitamins (substances essential in very small quantities for nutrition). Leafy vegetables such as spinach and turnip greens, dried beans and peas, avocados, bananas, oranges, and asparagus provide us with natural sources for this vitamin. Folate is essential for the body. It is involved in the synthesis, repair, and normal functioning of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid—the molecular basis for heredity). Folate is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth that occurs during pregnancy and in the development of young children.

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