Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a B-complex vitamin that is also known as B-9. The terms “folic acid” and “folate” are used interchangeably, since they refer to the same nutrient. Orange juice is a natural source of folate, with 1 cup providing 74.4 micrograms of the vitamin.
Folic Acid’s Function
Folic acid facilitates the making of protein, red blood cells and DNA, the carrier of your genetic identity. The nutrient is also essential for tissue to grow and cells to function properly. Folic acid in supplement form corrects a deficiency of the nutrient. It also prevents birth defects. Your doctor prescribes folic acid supplementation when she sees it can benefit your health or the health of a fetus. Take the dietary supplement under your physician’s care.
Folic Acid in Orange Juice
The amount of folic acid in 1 cup of orange juice falls short of the adequate daily adult intake for the vitamin. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends 400 micrograms of the nutrient every day from the age of 14 years through adulthood. The intake for younger people ranges from 65 micrograms to 300 micrograms.
Complementing Orange Juice
Orange juice is nutritious, but it isn’t a complete source of nutrients. Include other sources of folic acid in your daily menu for variety and for the additional vitamins and minerals oranges do not give you. The foods that contain folic acid include legumes, whole-grain products, dark greens, liver, poultry, pork and shellfish.
Orange Juice, Folic Acid and Protein
Folic acid, in combination with vitamins B-12 and C, makes it possible for your body to digest protein and make new ones. Orange juice provides vitamin C. B-12 is not available in oranges, but your body keeps stores of it in your liver. Thus, your in-house manufacturing system should be able to keep you well supplied with proteins when you have a serving of orange juice regularly.