Folate and Health Issues

Medications

Certain medications may affect how the body absorbs or uses folate. These include anti-seizure medications, certain antibiotics, medications used to treat arthritis or cancer, or certain anti-inflammatory medications. See our list of medications that might interact with folate or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Foods

Low folate status is common among people who consume alcohol in large quantities. Excessive alcohol intake may keep someone from eating other foods or getting the nutrients they need from their diet. Alcohol also may affect the way the body uses folate. People with a high intake of alcohol may need more folate in their diets.

Weight Loss Diets

Before beginning any weight loss diet, be sure to check with your doctor.

Many weight loss diets suggest limiting the intake of certain foods, which can affect the types and amounts of nutrients you get (or don't get) from foods. For instance, a weight loss diet that limits the intake of certain carbohydrates may lower the intake of folate because many of these foods (e.g., cereal, bread, pasta, rice) are fortified with folic acid.

If you or your child follows a weight loss diet that severely limits an entire category of foods, consider that you may be missing out on essential nutrients. After all, that's why it is recommended to eat a variety of foods--so that you get all the nutrients you need to be healthy! If you limit your intake of carbohydrates, taking a multivitamin every day and selecting folate-rich foods (e.g., dark green leafy vegetables, legumes such as dried beans and peas, and orange juice for your carbohydrate food choices) are things you can do to help improve your intake of important nutrients.


Couple

Folate is needed for good health and may help reduce the risk of serious birth defects and some chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.

More Information

Woman eating an orange

Strawberries