Folic Acid Dosage for Seniors: Improving Health and Wellness through Proper Supplementation

Folic acid has been known for its many benefits for young and old alike. It is considered one of the essential vitamins needed by our body to maintain good cell production and metabolism. However, Folic acid is not naturally produced by our body, instead, we get it through the food that we eat.

That’s the reason why about 40 percent of the population in the US is deficient in folic acid.

As for seniors, getting enough dosage of folic acid benefits one's brain function and blood health. Learn more about folic acid, its benefits, dosage, and side effects through this article.

What is Folic Acid?

Folic acid, also known as folate, or folacin, is a type of vitamin B that plays a vital role in metabolism, cell production, and cell growth. Though folate and folic acid share the same effects and function, there is a specific difference between the two.

While folate is a naturally occurring vitamin usually found in certain foods, folic acid is the man-made version of this vitamin which is used in making dietary supplements. Despite the difference, folate and folic acid still share common benefits.

Benefits of Folic Acid to Seniors

Folic acid is crucial in children’s growth, but studies also found that this vitamin offers many benefits to seniors. The following are the benefits that seniors can reap from folic acid.

Note: Taking folic acid offers a lot of benefits, however, seniors and caregivers should take note that too much intake of folic acid may cause side effects specifically for seniors who have vitamin B12 deficiency. It’s crucial to talk to your doctor first before you start taking folic acid supplements.

How Much Folic Acid Should Seniors Take?

Folic acid is not naturally produced by the body and considering that seniors absorb vitamins and nutrients less effectively, taking folic acid supplements helps seniors get enough folic acid needed for certain bodily functions.

Adults generally require about 400 micrograms of folic acid per day. As for seniors, it is crucial to meet this daily dosage since their bodies can no longer produce much energy like when they were younger. Folic acid can be taken through a folic acid-rich diet or through dietary supplements.

Which Foods are Rich Sources of Folic Acid?

Since folate or folic acid cannot be naturally produced by our bodies, opting for foods that are rich in this vitamin is a significant step in meeting the recommended daily dose of folic acid. Listed below are foods that are high sources of folic acid.

  1. Dark green, leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, broccoli, etc.
  2. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, or lime
  3. Beans, peas, and legumes
  4. Poultry, pork, eggs, and shellfish
  5. Wheat, seeds, and yeast
  6. Chicken or pork liver and kidneys
  7. Mushroom and asparagus 
  8. Fortified cereals, bread, and juices
Risks and Side Effects of Taking Folic Acid

Taking folic acid is generally safe and reports of patients who experienced severe side effects are very rare. Allergic reactions related to folic acid intake include the following:

In rare cases, folic acid can cause allergic reactions such as:

Also, seniors should also take note that the effectiveness of other medications taken may be influenced by folic acid. Some drugs that can interact with folic acid are the following:

Note: Talk to your doctor if you experience the side effects mentioned above or if you have current medications that may interact with folic acid.

Final Word

Folic acid offers a lot of benefits to people of any age. It plays a vital factor in cell growth and metabolism in younger individuals and reduces the risk of certain diseases among seniors. Although folic acid or folate cannot be produced by our bodies, we can get it through the food that we eat and through taking folic acid supplements. Maintaining good levels of this vitamin is essential, especially for seniors considering that their bodies cannot absorb all the nutrients it needs like they used to.