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What is folic acid and why do I need it if I have rheumatoid arthritis?

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Folic acid is a B vitamin called found in supplements and fortified foods. It’s called “folate” in its natural form in many plant foods. Folic acid supports your metabolism, and in pregnant women, it helps prevent some birth defects. However, keep in mind that some common rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drugs like methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) interfere with how the body uses folic acid.

SOURCES:

Ede, A. , 2001. Arthritis & Rheumatism

Pelajo, C. , 2010. Autoimmunity Reviews

Rennie, K. , 2003. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics

Arthritis Today: “Vitamin and Mineral Guide: Folate.”

Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center: “Nutrition & Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

Edgar R. Miller III, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases: “What People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Need to Know About Osteoporosis.”

National Osteoporosis Foundation: “About Osteoporosis: Vitamin D and Bone Health.”

Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health: “Folate,” “Calcium,” Vitamin D,” “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Health.”

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: “Alpha-Linolenic Acid,” “Fish Oil,” “Vitamin D,” “Sulfasalazine.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Methotrexate: Managing Side Effects.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on January 15, 2017

SOURCES:

Ede, A. , 2001. Arthritis & Rheumatism

Pelajo, C. , 2010. Autoimmunity Reviews

Rennie, K. , 2003. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics

Arthritis Today: “Vitamin and Mineral Guide: Folate.”

Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center: “Nutrition & Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

Edgar R. Miller III, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases: “What People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Need to Know About Osteoporosis.”

National Osteoporosis Foundation: “About Osteoporosis: Vitamin D and Bone Health.”

Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health: “Folate,” “Calcium,” Vitamin D,” “Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Health.”

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: “Alpha-Linolenic Acid,” “Fish Oil,” “Vitamin D,” “Sulfasalazine.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Methotrexate: Managing Side Effects.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on January 15, 2017

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Why does someone with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) need folic acid?

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