The 4 Best Vegan Folic Acid Supplements In 2022

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Humans require a variety of nutrients and minerals in order to live healthy lives. Folic acid is one of them. It is a crucial vitamin for human growth and development. It is the most common type of DNA found in humans.

A lack of folic acid can lead to conditions such as fatigue, stunted growth, and anemia,  so it’s important to be mindful of its consumption when planning your vegan diet.

With that being said, there may be cases when you may want to take a folic acid supplement, for instance, when you’re pregnant as it’s a vitamin that helps in the prevention of birth defects such as neural tube defects. 

Let’s look at 4 different vegan folic acid supplements on the market. 

The 4 Best Vegan Folic Acid Supplements

Ritual Folic Acid Supplement

This supplement by Ritual is not specifically advertised as a folic acid supplement, but the ingredient that is contained in the highest amounts is methylated folate, an active form of folic acid. 

Maintaining healthy levels of folate reduces a woman’s risk of having a child with neural tube defects, which is one of the main reasons why prenatal supplements tend to contain folate as the main nutrient. 

Conversely, it is also the reason why many pregnant women seek folic acid supplements in the first place, and hence why we’ve added Ritual’s prenatal supplement to this list. 

Supplement Facts
  • 12 traceable vitamins & minerals
  • 1000 micrograms of folate (higher than most)
  • Free from major allergens, including gluten, as well as no artificial crap

Apart from folic acid, Ritual’s prenatal supplement also contains important vitamins and minerals such as DHA (omega-3), vitamin B12, choline, iodine, biotin, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, and more. 

Every single ingredient in this formula is traceable, which means Ritual has in-depth information about suppliers right on its website. For instance, they obtain their folate from Gnosis, a company that manufactures its folate in Pisticci, Italy. 

Needless to say, they source their ingredients from ethical suppliers, usually from countries where companies don’t resort to the exploitation of human resources. This is also a big reason why we decided to recommend this supplement because it’s difficult to access information regarding most companies’ supply chains but Ritual makes it doable. 

In addition, Ritual also makes its supplements vegan-friendly and also free from some major allergens, including gluten, and it also tends to avoid artificial ingredients. 

According to the CDC (Center For Disease Control and Prevention), most adults should consume 400 micrograms of dietary folate per day, but if they’re pregnant or are breastfeeding women, they ought to consume 600 micrograms and 500 micrograms, respectively. 

Ritual’s prenatal formula contains 1000 micrograms of folate, which is clearly higher than the aforementioned recommendations by the CDC, so we have our doubts on whether this is better or not, particularly because taking more folic acid may mask a B12 deficiency that would normally be detectable. 

However, this supplement also contains 8 micrograms of vitamin B12, so Ritual has also accounted for this issue, not to mention it also contains numerous other vitamins and minerals that are not as easily available for vegans. 

1000 micrograms do seem to be within the upper limit (at least when you look at the recommendations by the CDC), but you don’t have to take the supplement every single day as you should be able to space out the intake based on the dose. 

Bulk Supplements Folic Acid Supplement

Unlike the previous supplement, this one by Bulk Supplements comes in a rather concentrated form because it is delivered in a powder.

Although it’s arguably the best bang for your buck version of this supplement, not everyone is keen on consuming folic acid in a powdered form, particularly because it’s difficult to nail down the correct recommended dose. 

With that being, some people may still enjoy the fact that you can add it to flavored water or coffee, as opposed to consuming yet another capsule or gummy.

Supplement Facts
  • Comes in powdered form
  • Bulk Supplements has always been a reliable brand

If you’re someone that prefers powder to capsules or gummies, be mindful that powder is a bit messy to work with, as it requires more effort to measure the right dose. 

The correct dose for this particular supplement is below a small tip of a teaspoon, which should be more or less equivalent to 400-500 micrograms of folate. Alternatively, I would suggest getting more sensitive instruments to properly measure the correct dose, otherwise, it may be too risky and you could potentially overdose on folic acid.

With that being said, this supplement by Bulk Supplements is another viable option with the plus of being available in a unique form that is different from the usual. Additionally, because it comes in a rather pure form, it doesn’t include any fillers or artificial crap, which some people may also appreciate. 

Nature Made Folic Acid Supplement

If you want a ‘normal’ folic acid supplement that is exactly according to the recommendations suggested by health authorities like the CDC (Center For Disease Control and Prevention), then this one by Nature Made is perhaps the rightful choice.

Comes with 400 micrograms of folic acid and 250 vegan-friendly capsules, which means this supplement should last you 8 months, and that is plenty.

Supplement Facts
    • 400 micrograms of folic acid
    • 250 capsules
    • Verified by USP

There are no added colors, flavors, or preservatives, and the formula has been verified by United States Pharmacopeia (USP), which is a third-party organization that ensures supplements satisfy the highest standards. 

Despite this, they’ve managed to make the supplement incredibly cheap. A bottle costs $4.75, the equivalent to $0.02 per serving, which we haven’t found elsewhere. 

Nature Made suggests one should take a vitamin B12 supplement in conjunction with folic acid, but has not included vitamin B12 in the formula. So, one could say that the prenatal supplement by Ritual is more complete, however, most vegans take vitamin B12 as it’s typically the only supplement vegans need to complement their diet.

Thus, if you’re already taking a vitamin B12 supplement (as you should as a vegna), then this folic acid formula seems to be optimal as it’s according to CDC guidelines. 

Nature’s Bounty Folic Acid Supplement

Nature’s Bounty folic acid supplement is another viable option as it’s quite similar to Nature Made (despite the higher folic acid dose), but unfortunately, it is two/three times more expensive.

It comes with 800 micrograms of folic acid per tablet, and 250 tablets, being able to last you 8 months, which is logical considering that pregnancies normally last 9 months.

Interesting Facts
  • 800 micrograms of folic acid
  • 250 tablets

Frankly, there is nothing special about this supplement (much like Nature Made), other than the fact it has a higher dose of folic acid, which is still not close to the upper limit.

Therefore, if you want a folic acid supplement, this is potentially an option that you could consider. What’s more, based on the dose, you don’t need to take it every day as it has double what you need.

What is Folic Acid?

folic acid

Folate is a water-soluble vitamin B9 that can be found in a variety of foods. It is also added to foods and sold as a supplement in the form of folic acid; which is more absorbable than that obtained from food.

Folate aids in the formation of DNA and RNA and is involved in protein metabolism. It is essential for the breakdown of homocysteine, an amino acid that, in high concentrations, can be harmful to the body.

Both folic acid and folate (5-MTHF) increase folate concentrations to the level that is considered to be protective against neural tube defects. In fact, numerous countries have incorporated fortification of folic acid into wheat flour as a widespread preventative measure against neural tube defects (NTDs) in infants which has proven effective.

Folic acid is a synthetic compound that has no biological function until it is reduced to dihydrofolate and tetrahydrofolate. Most individuals are able to make this conversion.

However, there are some genetic variations that can impact our ability to convert folic acid to an active form. Folate (5-MTHF) is the predominant form in our body that is readily available for transport and metabolism, and you can generally obtain it from natural sources such as green leafy vegetables. 

If you wish to take a supplement, it will most likely contain folic acid as it’s the cheapest way to increase folate concentrations, but you can also find folate supplements that use natural ingredients. 

The RDA for folate is expressed in micrograms (mcg) of dietary folate equivalents (DFE), and experts suggest that people should aim for 400 mcg DFE for men and women aged 19 and up. Women who are pregnant or lactating need 600 mcg DFE and 500 mcg DFE, respectively. People who consume alcohol on a regular basis should aim for at least 600 mcg DFE of folate per day, as alcohol can impair absorption.

Signs of Folate Deficiency

Because folate is found in a variety of foods, a deficiency is uncommon. However, the following conditions may increase the risk:

Alcoholism: Alcohol inhibits folate absorption and accelerates the rate at which folate degrades and is excreted from the body. Alcoholics also tend to eat low-quality diets deficient in folate-containing foods.

Pregnancy: The requirement for folate rises during pregnancy because it aids in the development of cells in the fetus.

Intestinal surgeries or digestive disorders that cause malabsorption: Celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease can both impair folate absorption. Absorption may be hampered by surgeries involving the digestive organs or that reduce the normal level of stomach acid. 

Genetic variants: People who have a variant of the MTHFR gene are unable to convert folate to its active form for use by the body.

Megaloblastic anemia (a condition caused by a lack of folate in the diet or poor absorption that results in fewer and larger red blood cells than normal); weakness, fatigue; irregular heartbeat; shortness of breath; difficulty concentrating; hair loss; pale skin; mouth sores are all symptoms of deficiency.

Should Vegans Take Folic Acid?

According to the data from the EPIC-Oxford study, which compares different dietary groups, showed that vegan participants had the highest levels of folate in their blood.

However, being vegan is no guarantee that you’re getting enough folate! You have to ensure your diet is rich in this nutrient by consuming folate sources daily, namely leafy greens, beans, peas, and lentils.

Oranges, beetroot, quinoa, mango, asparagus, avocado, okra, parsnips, chia seeds, and ground linseed (flaxseed) also contain useful amounts of folate.

Before you decide to take a folate or folic acid supplement, you should consult your physician to know whether or not it is necessary to take a folic acid supplement.  

Is Folic Acid Always Vegan?

Folic acid and folate are suitable for vegans, as one is created synthetically in a lab (doesn’t rely on natural sources), but even if it required natural sources, it would still be vegan-friendly as folate is most abundant in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, asparagus, and broccoli.

Other sources also include beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, as well as liver and seafood; though these are not optimal sources of folic acid. 

Conclusion

Before you decide to take folic acid, it’s highly recommended that you get professional advice to know whether or not you actually need to increase your intake by taking a supplement. 

A plant-based diet tends to be rich in foods that contain folate, so in regular circumstances, vegans do not need to take a folic acid supplement, apart from special cases where increasing your folate intake may be warranted (i.e: pregnancy). 

The supplements we have included in this article are available in different forms and the doses range from high to low, so do keep that in mind if you decide to go with any of the supplements. 


Editor’s note: The content on this website is meant to be informative, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for over five years! I've set up this blog because I'm passionate about veganism and living a more spiritually fulfilling life where I'm more in tune with nature. Hopefully, I can use Vegan Foundry as a channel to help you out on your own journey!