Folic acid, also called folate or folacin, is a B vitamin with a solid reputation for protecting against birth defects and heart disease. With adequate amounts of folic acid, it is estimated that 50,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease could be prevented each year in the United States alone. Moreover, common birth defects could be cut nearly in half. Other ailments, such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease, may respond to the effects of folic acid as well.
Folic acid is involved in every bodily function that requires cell division. It is used to generate red blood cells, help wounds heal, build muscle, and produce brain and nervous system chemicals. It should always be taken in combination with Vitamin B12, because taking only one of these B vitamins can mask a deficiency in the other.