Use the table below to determine the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for the individuals you may encounter during counseling. Note: Recommendations for folate refer to food folate. Recommendations in the footnotes refer to synthetic folic acid.
Dietary Reference Intakes for Folate*
|If the person is a...||RDA of Folate(mcg/day)
|Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) (mcg/day)|
19 – 50 years of age, not currently pregnant
|Woman, Hispanic, 19 - 50 years of age, not currently pregnant||400||1000|
|Woman, planning a Pregnancy||600||1000|
|Man, at least 19 years of age||400||1000|
|Adult, beyond age 50||400||1000|
|Infant (0-1)||No extra supplementation required|
RDA of folate is defined as dietary folate equivalents (DFEs). 1 DFE
= 1 mcg of food folate = 0.6 mcg folic acid (from fortified food or
supplement consumed with food) = 0.5 mcg synthetic (supplemental) folic
acid taken on an empty stomach.
|In view of evidence linking folate intake with neural tube defects in the fetus, it is recommended that all women capable of becoming pregnant consume 400 mcg from supplements or fortified foods in addition to intake of food folate from a varied diet.|
|The U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce recommends that all women planning pregnancy take a daily multivitamin or multivitamin-multimineral supplement containing folic acid at a dose of 400-800 mcg, beginning 1 month prior to conception and continuing through the first trimester, to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.|
Acid Recommendations for High Risk Women
Use the table below to determine the recommended amount of synthetic folic acid for women considered to be at high risk for an NTD-affected pregnancy.
If the person is a...
Recommended Amount of Folic Acid (mcg/day)
Woman with Previous NTD-affected pregnancy, planning a pregnancy
Consult with Physician
Woman with Other risk factors, planning a pregnancy
Consult with Physician
Dosages of folic acid beyond 400 mcg may require a doctor’s prescription.
Guide to Clinical Preventive Services. Second Edition. Report of the U.S.
Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Neural Tube Defects- Inducing
Folic Acid/Folate prophylaxis. Chapter 42. Pg 479.
Combs GF. Ch.4 on Vitamins, in "Krause’s Food, Nutrition and
Diet Therapy." Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S, editors. 10th ed.
W.B. Saunders Company. Philadelphia: 2000. p. 94
Academy of Pediatrics. Folic
Acid for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects (RE9834)
revision, August 1999.