By Craig O. Weber, MD 

Updated on November 07, 2021
Medically reviewed by Jeffrey S. Lander, MD

Folic acid is a water-soluble form of vitamin B9. It is the synthetic form of folate, a nutrient found in certain foods, and is used in vitamin supplements. Folic acid is an important nutrient that the body uses to generate, replicate and repair cells, including DNA.

Deficiencies in folic acid are particularly problematic during pregnancy when the body must quickly produce lots of new cells. Red blood cell production is also very sensitive to folic acid levels, and low levels of this nutrient can lead to certain types of anemia. It is believed that folic acid and its derivatives also play an important role in repairing DNA damage that could otherwise lead to cancer.

The Affect of Folic Acid on High Blood Pressure

Several large studies have examined the role of folic acid in the prevention of high blood pressure and found that it provides benefit in reducing the risk of the condition. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that women with hypertension who took folate were able to significantly reduce their blood pressure. By taking more than 1,000 mcg a day of folic acid there was a 46% reduction in high blood pressure of women who participated in the study.