Last update: March 6, 2016

Folic Acid

Very Low Risk for breastfeeding

Safe. Compatible.
Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.

Soluble B group vitamin that is very abundant in green vegetables, legumes and fruits (citric fruits).

It is actively excreted in breast milk with priority over maternal folate in such extent that may even cause maternal deficit. Exclusive breastfeeding meets the daily allowances of infant folic acid.
The concentration is higher in mature milk (85 micrograms / L) than in colostrum and premature breast milk.
Administration to nursing mothers increases slightly the usual concentration of folate in breast milk.

Folic acid needs are increased during pregnancy and lactation (500-600 micrograms / day) and in case of taking anticonvulsant medication.

No harmful effects have been observed by taking folic acid during lactation. Excess of folic acid is eliminated by the kidneys every day.

No supplements are needed if diet and nutritional status are adequate.

The American Academy of Pediatrics rates it as a mediation usually compatible with breastfeeding.
WHO List of Essential Medicines 2002: compatible with breastfeeding.


We do not have alternatives for Folic Acid since it is relatively safe.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Folic Acid is also known as

Folic Acid in other languages or writings:


Folic Acid belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Folic Acid in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Bioavailability 76 - 93 %
Molecular weight 441 daltons
Protein Binding 85 %
Tmax 0,5 - 1 hours
M/P ratio 0,2 -
Theoretical Dose 0,007 mg/Kg/d
Relative Dose 100 %
Relat.Ped.Dose 50 - 100 %


  1. Ares Segura S, Arena Ansótegui J, Díaz-Gómez NM; en representación del Comité de Lactancia Materna de la Asociación Española de Pediatría. La importancia de la nutrición materna durante la lactancia, ¿necesitan las madres lactantes suplementos nutricionales? [The importance of maternal nutrition during breastfeeding: Do breastfeeding mothers need nutritional supplements?] An Pediatr (Barc). 2015 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Revakova T, Revak O, Vasilenkova A, Behulova D, Brucknerova I. Amount of folic acid in different types of nutrition used in the neonatal period. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2015 Abstract
  3. Stamm RA, Houghton LA. Nutrient intake values for folate during pregnancy and lactation vary widely around the world. Nutrients. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Allen LH. B vitamins in breast milk: relative importance of maternal status and intake, and effects on infant status and function. Adv Nutr. 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Morse NL. Benefits of docosahexaenoic acid, folic acid, vitamin D and iodine on foetal and infant brain development and function following maternal supplementation during pregnancy and lactation. Nutrients. 2012 Abstract
  6. West AA, Yan J, Perry CA, Jiang X, Malysheva OV, Caudill MA. Folate-status response to a controlled folate intake in nonpregnant, pregnant, and lactating women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Berti C, Fekete K, Dullemeijer C, Trovato M, Souverein OW, Cavelaars A, Dhonukshe-Rutten R, Massari M, Decsi T, Van't Veer P, Cetin I. Folate intake and markers of folate status in women of reproductive age, pregnant and lactating women: a meta-analysis. J Nutr Metab. 2012 Abstract
  8. Varea A, Malpeli A, Disalvo L, Apezteguía M, Falivene M, Ferrari G, Pereyras S, Carmuega E, Etchegoyen G, Vojkovic M, González HF. Evaluation of the impact of a food program on the micronutrient nutritional status of Argentinean lactating mothers. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2012 Abstract
  9. Lamers Y. Folate recommendations for pregnancy, lactation, and infancy. Ann Nutr Metab. 2011 Abstract
  10. Hall Moran V, Lowe N, Crossland N, Berti C, Cetin I, Hermoso M, Koletzko B, Dykes F. Nutritional requirements during lactation. Towards European alignment of reference values: the EURRECA network. Matern Child Nutr. 2010 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  11. Houghton LA, Yang J, O'Connor DL. Unmetabolized folic acid and total folate concentrations in breast milk are unaffected by low-dose folate supplements. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Abstract
  12. Sherwood KL, Houghton LA, Tarasuk V, O'Connor DL. One-third of pregnant and lactating women may not be meeting their folate requirements from diet alone based on mandated levels of folic acid fortification. J Nutr. 2006 Abstract
  13. Tamura T, Picciano MF. Folate determination in human milk. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2006 Abstract
  14. WHO / UNICEF. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL MEDICATION Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (WHO/UNICEF) 2002 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  15. AAP - American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs. Transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human milk. Pediatrics. 2001 Sep;108(3):776-89. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  16. Mackey AD, Picciano MF. Maternal folate status during extended lactation and the effect of supplemental folic acid. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Abstract Full text (in our servers)
  17. Mackey AD, Picciano MF, Mitchell DC, Smiciklas-Wright H. Self-selected diets of lactating women often fail to meet dietary recommendations. J Am Diet Assoc. 1998 Abstract
  18. [No authors listed] [Folic acid and pregnancy. Société française de pdiatrie--Comité de nutrition]. Arch Pediatr. 1995 Abstract
  19. O'Connor DL. Folate status during pregnancy and lactation. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1994 Abstract
  20. Olivares M, Hertrampf E, Llaguno S, Stekel A. [Nutritional intake of folic acid in breast-fed infants]. Bol Oficina Sanit Panam. 1989 Abstract
  21. Trugo NM, Donangelo CM, Koury JC, Silva MI, Freitas LA. Concentration and distribution pattern of selected micronutrients in preterm and term milk from urban Brazilian mothers during early lactation. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1988 Abstract
  22. Herbert V. Recommended dietary intakes (RDI) of folate in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1987 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  23. Cooperman JM. Folates in human milk. Am J Clin Nutr. 1987 Abstract
  24. Smith AM, Picciano MF, Deering RH. Folate supplementation during lactation: maternal folate status, human milk folate content, and their relationship to infant folate status. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1983 Abstract
  25. Ek J. Plasma, red cell, and breast milk folacin concentrations in lactating women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1983 Abstract
  26. Ford JE, Zechalko A, Murphy J, Brooke OG. Comparison of the B vitamin composition of milk from mothers of preterm and term babies. Arch Dis Child. 1983 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  27. Cooperman JM, Dweck HS, Newman LJ, Garbarino C, Lopez R. The folate in human milk. Am J Clin Nutr. 1982 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  28. Thomas MR, Sneed SM, Wei C, Nail PA, Wilson M, Sprinkle EE 3rd. The effects of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, riboflavin, and thiamin on the breast milk and maternal status of well-nourished women at 6 months postpartum. Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 Abstract
  29. Tamura T, Yoshimura Y, Arakawa T. Human milk folate and folate status in lactating mothers and their infants. Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  30. Metz J. Folate deficiency conditioned by lactation. Am J Clin Nutr. 1970 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  31. MATOTH Y, PINKAS A, SROKA C. STUDIES ON FOLIC ACID IN INFANCY. 3. FOLATES IN BREAST FED INFANTS AND THEIR MOTHERS. Am J Clin Nutr. 1965 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)

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