Folic Acid

Folic acid


Ingredient name: Folic Acid

Empirical Formula: C19H19N7O6

Food and Drug Administration Daily Recommended Value: 400 ug

Quantity in one pouch of Soylent: 441 ug

Nutrition role:

The vitamin Folate is required in the synthesis of nucleosides, which are major components of DNA and RNA, the genetic material at the basis of all life.

Specifically, folate is used by cells to manufacture purine, the base structure of adenine and guanine - building blocks of DNA and RNA. Additionally, folate is an input in the creation of the enzyme thymidylate synthase, which is required in order to make thymine, another building block of DNA.[1],[2]

Because folate is used to manufacture genetic material, without it, cell division (which requires a duplicate to be made of existing DNA) would not be possible.[3]

Furthermore, folate contributes to the maintenance of several different amino acids in the body.[4] In one such example, folate is involved in single-carbon transfers of the methionine cycle. The methionine cycle serves to regenerate methionine, one of the 22 amino acids that are used as building blocks for the tens of thousands of types of proteins found within the body.[5]


Folic acid is absorbed via active transport in the small intestines (specifically in the jejunum[6]).  This process is less complex than that undergone by traditional food folates, which must be hydrolyzed to the monoglutamate form prior to absorption.[7]

Before entering the bloodstream, the monoglutamate form is then reduced to tetrahydrofolate (THF) in the liver. Roughly 50 percent of folate in the body is found in the liver, while 50 percent is in circulation. Studies estimate total body quantities of folate to be between 12 and 28 milligrams.[8]

Reason this form chosen:

Folic acid is the most stable form of folate and is also more bioavailable than traditional food folates (polyglutamate derivatives).[9]

[1]  Stipanuk, Martha H., and Marie A. Caudill. "Folate, Choline, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin B6." In Biochemical, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition, 568. Third Edition ed. St. Louis: Elsevier, 2013.

[2] Adenine, guanine and thymine are commonly referred to as nucleobases or nitrogenous bases.

[3]See footnote 1, 569.

[4] "Folate." In Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline, 199. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 1998 

[5]  See footnote 1, 565.

[6] Erdman, John W., Ian MacDonald, and Steven H. Zeisel. "Folate." In Present Knowledge in Nutrition, 323. Washington, DC: International Life Sciences Institute, 2012.

[7] See footnote 1, 566.

[8] "Folate." In Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline, 198. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 1998 

[9] Ibis., 196.