Folic acid -- the synthetic version of folate, or vitamin B-9 -- is one of eight B vitamins that help the body convert the food you eat into glucose, which your body uses for energy. It also plays a role in nervous system function and is vital for the development of a fetus' neural tube. What it doesn't do, however, is affect weight loss.
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Importance of Folic Acid
Although it won't help you lose weight, folic acid is vital for the body. It's particularly important for pregnant women, who need 600 micrograms a day, or women who are planning to become pregnant, who need 400 micrograms a day. Neural tube defects can happen so early in the first trimester that you might not even know you're pregnant yet. Breast-feeding women should consume 500 micrograms a day. Everyone else needs 400 micrograms, as well, typically obtained as folate through the diet -- the vitamin is found in fortified grains and cereals, dark leafy greens, asparagus, soybeans, root vegetables and kidney, white, lima and mung beans. Folic acid can potentially help protect against heart disease, age-related hearing loss, macular degeneration and depression.