Pregnancy Home > Does Folic Acid Work?

While many people are aware of the benefits of folic acid for pregnant women, some may wonder, "Does folic acid work for other conditions as well?" Folic acid has been shown to lower homocysteine levels, which may decrease the risk of heart disease, strokes, or blood clots (although more research is necessary). The vitamin may also work for methotrexate toxicity.

Does Folic Acid Really Work?

Folic acid is an important vitamin. It is also known as vitamin B9. However, there is quite a bit of controversy about the use of folic acid for certain conditions. This article will address the effectiveness of folic acid for several different uses, including:
 
  • Folic acid deficiency
  • Pregnancy
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia
  • Methotrexate toxicity.
     
Does Folic Acid Work for Folic Acid Deficiency?
As you might guess, taking folic acid is very effective for treating folic acid deficiencies. Although folic acid deficiency is not very common in healthy people, there are some conditions or situations which can increase the risk of a folic acid deficiency. People who chronically abuse alcohol have a higher risk for folic acid deficiency, as do people with liver disease or people undergoing kidney dialysis. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have a higher need for folic acid than most, and if dietary (or supplement) intake of folic acid is not enough, a deficiency may occur. Also, people with problems of the digestive tract that interfere with the absorption of nutrients and vitamins can lead to a folic acid deficiency. Some medications may also cause folic acid deficiencies.
 
Different folic acid dosages may be recommended for different types of folic acid deficiency.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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