Folates - Definition

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Folates are a derived form, but very close to folic acid, also known as vitamin B9. Folates are essential for the manufacture of deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA, the carrier of each individual's genetic information. They are supplied in the diet, especially organ meats, legumes, spinach, yeast, and some cereals. Deficiency of vitamin B9 may be responsible for anemia. During pregnancy, the need for vitamin B9 in pregnant women increases, implying a systematic supplementation during pregnancy. A deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women increases the risk of miscarriages and premature births, but also birth defects, including spina bifida.