Pregnant women often come to mind when people think of folate — or folic acid — supplements. It’s for a good reason. Medical experts recommend that all women take 400 mcg of folic acid every day before and during early pregnancy.
But pregnant women aren’t the only people who can benefit from a folic acid supplement. Folate is linked to various health benefits, including reduced risks of certain cancers and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women.
Oh, and that pregnancy glow? Pregnant women are known for having glowing skin and shinier, bouncier hair. Doctors attribute this to folic acid, a component of prenatal vitamins and an emerging sector of the market: beauty supplements.
If you’re considering including folate or folate acid in your functional nutrition supplement, here is what you need to know before you begin product development.
What is Folate?
Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin naturally present in foods such as spinach, kale, broccoli, avocado, citrus fruits, eggs, and beef liver. Folate is essential for the growth of cells and tissues, as well as for the production of nucleic acids (the building blocks of DNA and RNA). Without folate, cells cannot divide properly and may become cancerous, according to The National Library of Medicine.
Folate vs. Folic Acid
Don’t get hung up on folate vs. folic acid. The only difference is that Folate is the natural form of this B vitamin, whereas folic acid is the man-made version found in supplements and added to food. Both have the same effect. Because of its health and beauty benefits, folate is a popular vitamin to include in a functional nutrition supplement.
What Supplement Products Contain Folic Acid?
Folic acid is available in multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. It is also available in supplements containing other B-complex vitamins and in supplements containing only folic acid. Luxury beauty supplements, such as Welbel, also include folic acid to increase the production of collagen, elastin, and keratin.
Health Benefits Of Folate
As with all B vitamins, folate plays a starring role in energy production and cellular metabolism within the body. In particular, folate is responsible for helping your body produce new cells and repair old ones. Folate has many health benefits, including
Neural Tube Birth Defect Prevention: Neural tube birth defects occur when an unborn baby's brain or spine doesn't form properly. The neural tube forms in the embryo and later becomes the baby's brain, spine, and spinal cord.
Decreased Risk of Certain Cancers: Folic acid may reduce the risk of getting certain types of cancer. For example, in one study, people who took folic acid supplements had a 50% lower risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma — the second most common type of skin cancer — on the head or neck.
Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Folic acid supplements help to break down the excess homocysteine in your blood, which is linked to cardiovascular disease.
Why Do People Take Folate?
Folic acid supplements are standard for pregnant women and women who plan to become pregnant. Folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects in a baby’s brain and spine (spina bifida and anencephaly) by 50% or more, according to Web MD.
Folic acid may also lower the risk of preeclampsia and early labor. Many doctors recommend that women of childbearing age take either a multivitamin or a folic acid supplement. More doctors now suggest that improving vitamin B9 levels is important for everyone, particularly women in their 20s and 30s.
While folate deficiencies are rare in the United States, supplements are often recommended for high-risk individuals. Getting too little folate can result in megaloblastic anemia, a blood disorder that causes weakness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, irritability, headache, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. Folate deficiency can also cause open sores on the tongue and inside the mouth, as well as changes in the color of the skin, hair, or nails.
The deficiency is more common in people who have digestive problems, kidney or liver disease, or who abuse alcohol. Folic acid is also used to reduce the toxicity of the drug methotrexate in psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Folate Acid Supplement For Healthy Skins & Nails
Health isn’t the only reason people take supplements with folic acid.
Folic acid plays a significant role in keeping skin hydrated and reducing the signs of premature aging by maintaining adequate collagen production. In combination with other antioxidants, folate also helps to reduce the intensity of acne, as it works to eliminate toxins from your body, according to Vogue.
Folic acid also helps to promote hair growth, add volume and even reduce the rate of premature greying—it does so by amping up the body’s cell production processes. Many of the best folate acid supplements on the market are considered beauty supplements and have been recommended by popular media outlets such as Vogue and Women’s Health Magazine.
Are Folate Supplements Safe?
Folic acid taken at or up to the recommended amount of 400 micrograms per day (mcg/day) is not harmful, according to the CDC.
Of course, like with any vitamin, too-high doses can be dangerous. Be sure to ask your supplement manufacturer about the correct dosing before you develop a supplement with folic acid.
How to Choose a Folic Acid Supplement Manufacturer
Folic acid supplements are a great way to add value to your brand. However, choosing the right developer is the best way to ensure this happens.
The vitamin manufacturing industry is complex. Having a trusted partner ensures your supplement is functional and is produced with top-quality ingredients. For example, some vitamin development companies will hand over a formula without telling you exactly what ingredients comprise your supplement, which means you won’t know the secret sauce in your product.
Knowing your proprietary vitamin formula gives you a better understanding of your product in the marketplace — a must for a competitive advantage. Make sure you choose a vitamin developer, like BevNutra Solutions, that gives you sole ownership of your custom blend.
Here are a few more topics a qualified beverage development partner should be able to navigate.
● Formulation & Process Questions.
● Ingredient Sourcing.
● Shelf Life Testing.
● Choosing Between Private Label Or White Label Custom Formulations.
Looking for a vitamin development partner who deeply understands these must-know insights? With two decades of industry experience, BevNutra Solutions brings product concepts to life by collaborating with you at every step.
Book your complimentary supplement development consultation.