Folic acid is required for DNA synthesis and cellular division. It is also necessary for neural development and cancer prevention. Folic-acid deficiency in pregnancy is linked to multiple birth defects such as neural-tube defects. Folate is also required to convert homocysteine to methionine, thus making this nutrient important in cardiovascular disease prevention. Numerous drugs affect folate levels and metabolism. Some of these drugs include estrogens, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, sulfasalazine, and methotrexate.75 Acid blockers, aspirin, cholestyramine, corticosteroids, and the antibiotic trimethoprim also may decrease folic acid.76
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