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Alzheimer's Disease

Get the facts before taking folic acid, other supplements

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Is a folic acid supplement ever recommended for the average person, or just for pregnant women?

ANSWER: Folic acid is the synthetic version (made in a laboratory) of a vitamin B called folate. It's well-known for its role in helping to prevent birth defects of the brain and spine, which is why it's often included in fortified foods such as cereals and pastas. But folic acid has other influences as well, such as on your heart and brain health. As you should with any vitamin or mineral supplement, get the facts before you start taking folic acid. In some cases, a supplement may be appropriate, but taking too much folic acid may carry risks.

Folate is found...