Nutritional role of folate

Congenit Anom (Kyoto). 2017 Sep;57(5):138-141. doi: 10.1111/cga.12233. Epub 2017 Jul 25.


Folate functions as a coenzyme to transfer one-carbon units that are necessary for deoxythymidylate synthesis, purine synthesis, and various methylation reactions. Ingested folate becomes a functional molecule through intestinal absorption, circulation, transport to cells, and various modifications to its structure. Associations between nutritional folate status and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive dysfunction have been reported. It has also been reported that maternal folate nutritional status is related to the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the offspring. It has also been recommended that folate be consumed in the diet to promote the maintenance of good health. To reduce the risk of NTDs, supplementation with folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) during the periconceptional period has also been recommended. This paper describes the basic features and nutritional role of folate.

Keywords: dietary reference intakes; folate; folate deficiency; one-carbon metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Folic Acid / metabolism*
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / metabolism
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / pathology
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / physiology
  • Neural Tube / abnormalities
  • Neural Tube / drug effects
  • Neural Tube / embryology
  • Neural Tube / metabolism*
  • Neural Tube Defects / diagnosis
  • Neural Tube Defects / metabolism
  • Neural Tube Defects / pathology
  • Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control*
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances


  • Folic Acid