Folic acid is classified as a water soluble B vitamin. It can be found naturally in foods such as peas, lentils, dried beans, beets, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, liver, asparagus, oranges, and products containing whole wheat. Since 1998, folic acid has been added to cereals, cookies, crackers, and breads by law.
Folic acid supplements are also available in pill form over the counter. Supplements can be purchased at health food stores, pharmacies, and grocery stores. Folic acid should be taken with a full glass of water. Do not take more than the recommended amount, unless directed by your doctor.
Folic acid is necessary for the human body to create and maintain new cells. It also helps prevent changes that may cause cancer. It can also help prevent heart disease and strokes. Folic acid can help treat some types of anemia. In addition, people of childbearing age, especially women should be sure to get enough folic acid on a daily basis. During pregnancy some birth defects, such as spina bifida have been linked to a lack of folic acid in the mother. Prenatal vitamins usually contain the recommended amount of folic acid for women who are pregnant or who are trying to conceive.