Folate is involved in DNA synthesis. It is involved in cell division and replication. The active form in the body is tetrahydrofolic acid (THFA), which is involved in certain biological reactions including amino acid conversions.
Folic acid is synthesized by intestinal microflora of the colon. It is stored in the liver and other body tissues. Excretion occurs through feces and urine.
Sources of folate include liver, organ meats, yeast, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grain cereals, eggs and fruit.
Deficiencies result in fatigue, insomnia, and anemia. Folate deficiency is particularly high in developing countries such as India, especially in pregnant and lactating women. Deficiency results in anemia (megaloblastic neurocytic), glossitis (inflammation of the tongue), gastrointestinal disturbances, diarrhea, malabsorption and mood changes. Deficiency during pregnancy may result in neurotube defects in newborns.