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To account for the differences in bioavailability, folate recommended intakes are often given in units called DFEs (Dietary Folate Equivalents). 1 microgram of natural folate equals 1 DFE and 1 microgram of folic acid equals 1.7 DFE

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September 22, 2020
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Is There a Difference in the Absorption of Folic Acid and Folate?

Folic Acid is the synthetic oxidized form of folate that is most frequently used in dietary supplements. Folic acid was also the form that was used to fortify grain products in the US when the FDA began a mandatory fortification program in 1996. This has been credited with dramatically improving the folate status in women of childbearing age and reducing the incidence of distressing neural tube birth defects like spina bifida by up to 50%. Natural food folate is different from folic acid, in that comes in many forms and is further distinguished from folic acid in that it has a long tail. This has a big impact on the ease with which it gets absorbed and it is approximately 40% less bioavailable than folic acid.

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Who Wrote This
Jonathan Bortz MD
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Jonathan’s background as a practicing diabetes specialist for 15 years and 17-year career developing nutritional prescriptive products for the pharmaceutical industry has contributed to his ability to understand nutrients, how they work and why they are important.

Over the years he has acquired broad and in-depth knowledge in minerals, essential fatty acids and other nutrients, but has special expertise in Vitamin B12 and choline metabolism. He is often asked to speak at national and international venues to articulate why B12, folate and choline are so important to gene function, brain development, liver and cardiovascular health. He applies pharmaceutical standards to nutrient science and has developed a unique ability to translate complicated concepts into simple promotional messages that resonate with practitioners and consumers. He has developed dozens of innovative nutritional products, of which many are category leaders in the US. Jonathan obtained his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in South Africa and did his fellowship in Endocrinology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

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