Penn Herb Wellness Guide

Folic AcidFind Products

Also indexed as:Vitamin B9
Folic Acid: Main Image

Folic acid is a B vitamin needed for cell replication and growth. Folic acid helps form building blocks of DNA, the body’s genetic information, and building blocks of RNA, needed for protein synthesis in all cells. Therefore, rapidly growing tissues, such as those of a fetus, and rapidly regenerating cells, like red blood cells and immune cells, have a high need for folic acid. Folic acid deficiency results in a form of anemia that responds quickly to folic acid supplementation.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement,little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Abnormal Pap Smear
10 mg daily under medical supervision3 stars[3 stars]
Large amounts of folic acid have been shown to improve the abnormal Pap smears of some women who are taking birth control pills.
Birth Defects
At least 400 mcg daily3 stars[3 stars]
Supplementing with folic acid before and during the early weeks of pregnancy dramatically reduces the risk of neural tube defects.
Depression and Folic Acid Deficiency
See a doctor for evaluation3 stars[3 stars]
Taking folic acid can help correct deficiencies associated with depression.
5 ml of a 0.1% solution used as a mouth rinse twice per dayas Folic Acid Rinse3 stars[3 stars]
Rinsing with a folic acid solution may help reduce inflammation and bleeding.
High Homocysteine

(Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12)
400 to 1,000 mcg of folic acid daily, 10 to 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily, and 50 to 300 mcg of vitamin B12 daily3 stars[3 stars]
Vitamin B6, folic acid, and vitamin B12 all play a role in converting homocysteine to other substances within the body and have consistently lowered homocysteine levels in trials.

(Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12)
2,000 mcg methylcobalamin (B12); 3,000 mcg methylfolate (B9); and 35 mg pyridoxal 5-phosphate once to twice daily3 stars[3 stars]
B vitamins, and vitamin B12 in particular, may be helpful in treating various types of neuropathies. People with type 2 diabetes taking metformin should be monitored for B12 deficiency.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
800 mcg daily, beginning before pregnancy3 stars[3 stars]
Supplementing with folic acid protects against the formation of birth defects, such as spina bifida. It also may lead to fewer infections for mothers and higher birth weight for babies.
Schizophrenia and Folic Acid Deficiency
If deficient: 10 to 20 mg a day under medical supervision3 stars[3 stars]
People with schizophrenia may have a tendency to be deficient in folic acid and they may see improvements when given supplements.
Type 2 Diabetes
6 mg methylfolate daily3 stars[3 stars]
Folic acid supplementation may improve blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. Folic acid also lowers homocysteine levels and preliminary evidence suggests it may help to prevent and treat diabetes complications.
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
800 mcg per day 2 stars[2 stars]
Folic acid has been shown to slow the rate of cognitive decline in people with high homocysteine levels and in elderly people.
Age-Related Cognitive Decline

(Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12)
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
In women with cardiovascular disease or related risk factors and low dietary intake of folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, supplementing with a combination of these nutrients may protect against age-related cognitive decline.
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Blood levels of an amino acid called homocysteine have been linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease in most research. Taking folic acid may help lower homocysteine levels.
Breast Cancer
400 mcg daily2 stars[2 stars]
For women who drink alcohol, folic acid may reduce breast cancer risk by reversing the damaging effect alcohol has on DNA.
Celiac Disease

(Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12)
3 mg vitamin B6, 0.8 mg folic acid, and 0.5 mg vitamin B122 stars[2 stars]
Daily supplementation with a combination of vitamin B6 (3 mg), folic acid (0.8 mg), and vitamin B12 (0.5 mg) have been shown to help relieve depression in people with celiac disease.
Celiac Disease
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
The malabsorption that occurs in celiac disease can lead to multiple nutritional deficiencies. Supplementing with folic acid may correct a deficiency.
Halitosis and Gum Disease
Use 5 ml twice per day of a 0.1% solution2 stars[2 stars]
Folic acid is often recommended by doctors to help prevent and treat periodontitis and has been shown to reduce the severity of gingivitis when taken as a mouthwash.
Heart Attack
500 to 800 mcg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Taking folic acid may reduce blood levels of homocysteine. High homocysteine levels have been linked to an increased heart attack risk.
Intermittent Claudication

(Alpha-Linolenic Acid, Fish Oil, Oleic Acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E)
200 mg of EPA and 130 mg of DHA daily, plus small amounts of vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E, oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, men with intermittent claudication who drank a milk product fortified with fish oil, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E, oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid could walk further without pain than those who drank regular milk.
Macular Degeneration

(Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12)
2.5 mg folic acid, 50 mg vitamin B6, and 1 mg vitamin B12 2 stars[2 stars]
In a double-blind study of female health professionals who had cardiovascular disease or risk factors, daily supplementation with folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 significantly decreased age-related macular degeneration.
Migraine Headache

(For a subset of people )
5 mg per day 2 stars[2 stars]
Taking folic acid may improve migraines in people with high homocysteine levels and a certain genetic characteristic.
Osteoporosis and High Homocysteine
5 mg with 1,500 mcg of vitamin B12 daily2 stars[2 stars]
Homocystinuria, a condition associated with high homocysteine levels, frequently causes osteoporosis. By lowering homocysteine levels, folic acid may help prevent osteoporosis.
5 mg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with folic acid and vitamin B6 may lower homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine damages the lining of blood vessels and can lead to preeclamptic symptoms.
Schizophrenia and High Homocysteine

(Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12)
Take folic acid (2 mg), vitamin B6 (25 mg), and vitamin B12 (400 mcg) daily2 stars[2 stars]
People with schizophrenia who have high homocysteine levels may improve symptoms by supplementing with folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
Sickle Cell Anemia and High Homocysteine
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
In one trial, patients with sickle cell anemia who were given folic acid plus aged garlic extract, vitamin C, and vitamin E saw significant improvement and less painful crises.
Skin Ulcers
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Large amounts of folic acid given both orally and by injection could promote healing of chronic skin ulcers due to poor circulation.