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How do I Determine the Appropriate Folic Acid Dosage?

By M. Gardner
Updated Feb 19, 2024
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You can determine your appropriate folic acid dosage by taking into account your age and health circumstances. It is recommended that children age 1-13 take 150-300 micrograms of folic acid per day, and adults should take 400 micrograms of per day. Adult women who are nursing or pregnant should take more folic acid — 500-600 micrograms per day. Some people with specific health issues should take even more folic acid every day, but this should be done only under the direction of a healthcare professional.

Folic acid, the synthetic form of the naturally occurring B-vitamin folate, is an essential vitamin. It prevents anemia and helps the development of new cells, making it especially important in preventing neural tube defects during pregnancy. Some foods with naturally occurring folate include leafy green vegetables, beans, fruits and juices. Many people do not ingest an adequate amount of folate, so folic acid is added to cereals, flour and other grain products to prevent deficiency. It also can be taken as an individual supplement or as part of a multivitamin.

When taking folic acid in supplement form, find a supplement that contains the folic acid dosage recommended for your age and condition. Anyone older than 13 should take 400 micrograms of folic acid per day, pregnant women should take 600 micrograms, and breastfeeding women should take 500 micrograms. Children ages 1-3 should take 150 micrograms of folic acid; children age 4-8 need 200 micrograms; and those age 9-13 need 300 micrograms.

In certain cases, a doctor might encourage a person to take even more folic acid to treat or prevent certain medical conditions. For example, person who has a diagnosed folic acid deficiency might be asked to take as much as 1,000 micrograms of folic acid per day. A woman who has a history of pregnancy complications related to neural tube defects might be prescribed a folic acid dosage of 4 milligrams of folic acid per day during the first few months of subsequent pregnancies.

While naturally occurring folate is completely safe, research has linked high doses of folic acid with other health problems, including cancer. The widespread consumption of foods fortified with folic acid nowadays means that very few men and children experience folic acid deficiency. Some health professionals recommend men and children avoid supplements that contain folic acid to avoid toxicity. The tolerable upper intake folic acid dosage for children age 1-3 is 300 micrograms per day; it is 400 micrograms per day for children ages 4-8, 600 micrograms for children 9-13, 800 micrograms for teens 14-18 and 1,000 micrograms per day for adults.

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Discussion Comments
By bluedolphin — On Jun 11, 2013

@literally-- 4mg is not necessarily a high dose. I do agree that the dose should be determined by the doctor. I take about 15mg of folic acid every week to relieve the side effects of my rheumatoid arthritis medication.

By literally45 — On Jun 10, 2013

@fboyle-- My doctor told me to take 600 micrograms but I think the dosage depends on the individual. One mother may need more folic acid than another, so you should listen to your doctor. Excess folic acid is excreted through urine, so if you want to take 600 micrograms to be on the safe side, I don't think it's a problem.

I had a friend who had to take 4mg of folic acid throughout her pregnancy because she had a deficiency. Her situation was an exception because 4mg is a very high folic acid dose for a normal person. You can't get anything above 1mg without prescription anyway.

By fBoyle — On Jun 10, 2013

I'm two weeks pregnant and my doctor said that it's enough to take 400ug of folic acid per day. Is this too little?

Is anyone else pregnant? What has your doctor told you about folic acid dosage in pregnancy?

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