Folate is the generic form of vitamin B. It is essential for cell growth, red blood production & proper nerve function. The human body does not naturally produce folic acid which it needs to survive so it must be obtained from diet or supplements. Manufactured folate is a type of folic acid. The body turns it into folate. Manufactured folate is used as a dietary supplement and in food fortification because it is safer than natural folic acid and does not change as much during processing or storage.
Folate is an important part of the body because it helps the body make DNA and RNA. It also helps break down amino acids that are needed for cell division. As humans cannot make folate, it is required in the diet. It needs to be eaten to stay healthy. This means that it is an essential nutrient. Folate is the form of folic acid that helps to treat people who are sick because they are deficient in folate. Folic acid is a supplement that pregnant women take to keep their babies healthy. It helps with the baby’s development.
It can also be synthetically derived through bacterial fermentation or chemical synthesis and added to foods. The only difference between folate and folic acid is that folate includes the naturally occurring vitamer pteroylmonoglutamic acid. It also includes derivatives of this compound which are created during digestion, transport & processing in the body. This forms a class of molecules called Tetrahydrofolates. Folate is a molecule when used as a supplement or medication, as well.