These two B vitamins are partners m many body processes. They both work to make red blood cells. Vitamin B12 helps maintain the sheath that protects nerve fibers. Folate is thought to protect the genetic material of cells and is required to make new cells. It is especially vital during pregnancy when cell multiplication is very rapid. It plays an important role in the prevention of certain birth defects, such as anencephaly and neural tube defects. There is evidence that woman chronically deficient in folate have a significantly higher risk of developing cervical cancer.
Folate comes from the word foliage; thus, as is the case with most B vitamins, green leafy vegetables are an excellent source. Fresh fruit and vegetables are the best sources since folate is easily destroyed by cooking. Legumes and seeds are also good sources.