Folate (vitamin B(9)) is an essential nutrient that is required for DNA replication and as a substrate for a range of enzymatic reactions involved in amino acid synthesis and vitamin metabolism. Demands for folate increase during pregnancy because it is also required for growth and development of the fetus. Folate deficiency has been associated with abnormalities in both mothers (anemia, peripheral neuropathy) and fetuses (congenital abnormalities). This article reviews the metabolism of folic acid, the appropriate use of folic acid supplementation in pregnancy, and the potential benefits of folic acid, as well as the possible supplementation of l-methylfolate for the prevention of pregnancy-related complications other than neural tube defects.
Keywords: Dietary supplements; Folic acid; l-methylfolate.