Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin, which plays an important role in the proper working of brain functions, haematopoiesis, cell division, and the production and regeneration of genomes (DNA and RNA).
Due to the latter, adequate folic acid intake is especially important for expectant women, particularly in the first trimester, for proper foetal development, as folic acid is essential for the process of closing the foetal neural tube. Research also shows that with adequate folic acid levels, the risk of developing neural tube defect is significantly reduced.
Vitamin B12 is required for the intake and storage of folic acid in cells, so it is recommended that their levels be monitored simultaneously.
Folic acid cannot be produced by the body, it enters the body with food intake. Its main natural sources are dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach), broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, whole grains, legumes (e.g. beans) and liver.