Fall 2011 Exam Review #1
SchoolUniversity of Guelph
Course CodeNUTR 1010
Folate (latin for “foliage”)
- Water soluble b-vitamin
- RDA for men and women >19 years is 400 micrograms/day
-Found naturally in diet in leafy vegetables
Folic acid is the active form of folate
- Naturally-occuring food folate converted to folic acid in the body, with the help
-We also consume folic acid
oIn supplements (including prenatal vitamins)
oIn fortiﬁed foods (e.g. grain products such as breads and pasta)
- We absorb almost 100% of folic acid, but only ~50% folate
FUNCTIONS OF FOLIC ACID (active form of folate)
-Plays a role in DNA synthesis
oImportant in new cell and tissue formation
oConstantly need new red blood cells, therefore folate helps blood
oCritical during ﬁrst few weeks of pregnancy when making a lot of new
cells. Folate is critical in the ﬁrst four weeks of pregnancy.
- With vitamins B6 and B12, maintains normal homocysteine levels.
oIt is an amino acid produced in our bodies as a biproduct of making
another amino acid. B12, B6 and folic acid break down homocysteine;
deﬁciency of any of these increases homocysteine in blood
oHomocysteine increases blood coagulation (blood clogging) and LDL
o~10% of risk developing cardiovascular disease due to
oHomocysteine may damage the walls of our blood vessels, which
therefore may prompt plaque formation.
TOO MUCH FOLATE OR FOLIC ACID?
- No problems with consuming too much folate in its naturally occurring form
- Too much folic acid can mask vitamin B12 deﬁciency
oBecause of this, UL for folic acid is 1000 micrograms per day
oFolic acid fortiﬁed in foods causes the concern that people are consuming
too much folic acid
TOO LITTLE FOLATE?
- Cannot produce folic acid
oImpaird DNA synthesis and cell division, leading to macrocytic/large cell
anemia and possibly neural tube (develops into spinal chord and brain of
oIncrease homocysteine levels, therefore increasing cardiovascular disease
- Red clood cells are unable to divide, and therefore grow larger. This is known as
a macrocyte (a large red blood cell)
- Fewer functioning red blood cells, and the capacity of our blood to carry oxygen
- Signs and symptoms:
oLoss of appetite weight loss
- GOOD NEWS: reversible!
oAdd folic acid supplements