Folic acid is a B9 vitamin that our bodies uses to make new cells. It is important because it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine (anencephaly and spina bifida) by 50% to 70%. Women need folic acid every day, whether they’re planning to get pregnant or not, for the healthy new cells the body makes daily. The amount of folate inside the red blood cell (RBC) is usually at a higher concentration inside the cell than in the serum. Folate may also be ordered to help in diagnosing the cause of behavioral or mental changes, especially in the elderly. Necessary for normal RBC formation, tissue and cellular repair, and DNA synthesis, folate is found in leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, dry beans and peas, liver, and yeast.