Folic acid is a B vitamin. It helps the body make healthy new cells. Everyone needs folic acid. For women who may get pregnant, it is really important. When a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can prevent major birth defects of her baby's brain or spine.
Foods with folic acid in them include leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts. Enriched breads, cereals and other grain products also contain folic acid. If you don't get enough folic acid from the foods you eat, you can also take it as a dietary supplement.
Trial participants who received a multinutrient formulation over an extended period of time showed a significantly less rapid deterioration in cognitive performance than the patients in a control group, who received only a placebo.
A UC Davis MIND Institute study of pregnant mice found that high amounts of folic acid during pregnancy harmed the brain development of embryos.