Folate and folic acid are forms of a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables (like spinach and turnip greens), fruits (like citrus fruits and juices), and dried beans and peas.
They can also be taken as supplements, for instance by women who may become pregnant to prevent certain birth defects.
Sufficient folate intake is particularly important in infancy and pregnancy as it helps produce and maintain new cells. Both adults and children need folate to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia.
GreenFacts, based on Office of Dietary Supplements