Getting to know it!

This vitamin, also known as folic acid, is important for women especially during pregnancy.

It is a synthetic chemical that has the same biological effects as folate. Both have an important role in the synthesis of DNA (genetic material inside cells) and in the break down of homocysteine (an amino acid that can cause blood vessel damage). Folic acid is more readily absorbed and has a better bioavailability compared to folate.

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It is chemically called 'pteroyl glutamic acid'.Folic acid is the collective name given to a group of compounds that contain the following three structures:

  1. A 'pteridine' nucleus (pyrimidine and pyrazine rings)
  2. Para-aminobenzoic acid.
  3. Glutamic acid.

This is the reason behind using folic acid for fortification (adding nutrients to food to prevent deficiency) of cereals, bread, pasta and in multivitamin supplements.

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