Folate is a water-soluble essential B vitamin found in many foods, including leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits and beans. Research has established that supplementation with folate before and during the first two months of pregnancy can support proper neurological development in the fetus.
Additionally, folate plays a key role in the metabolism of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a sulfur containing amino acid that is created in the body from methionine, an essential amino acid derived solely from dietary intake. High plasma levels of homocysteine appear to injure the vasculature, impairing the functional abilities of endothelial and smooth muscle cells.