A water-soluble, B-complex vitamin
. It is called folate when it is found in foods, such as legumes, fruits, and green leafy vegetables. Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate that is found in many fortified foods and as a supplement. Folic acid is needed to form red blood cells and is used to treat some types of anemia. It is also an important vitamin for women to take before and during pregnancy, as it can reduce the risk of the baby developing a neural tube defect (such as spina bifida). Some drugs used to treat inflammatory bowel disease
, such as methotrexate and sulfasalazine, can cause a deficiency of folic acid, and a supplement may be prescribed by a physician.
Pronunciation: fō′lik as′id
Also Known As: Folate