What Is Folates Measured In DFE & What Foods Can I Find It In?

Folate is also known as vitamin B9 and folacin.

Folate is naturally present in many foods, and folic acid, which is the synthesized form of folate, is added to some foods.

DFE is a measurement which stands for dietary folate equivalents. You can find it on the nutrition facts label of fortified foods.

It's supposed to help you not consume too much of the synthetic-made folic acid, which is the compound used in fortified foods.

Table of Contents

Folate Is A Generic Term

Folate is a generic term referring to both natural folates in food and folic acid, the synthetic form used in supplements and fortified food. (source )

Folate that is naturally present in food is not harmful. But you should not consume folate in supplements or fortified foods in amounts above the upper limit.

It can become toxic when taken in too high amounts. It can cause severe side effects in the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and liver.

DFE: Dietary Folate Equivalents

The mcg DFE is the unit of measure for folate on the new Nutrition Facts or Supplement Facts label.

The measure of mcg DFE is used because your body absorbs more folic acid from fortified foods and dietary supplements than folate found naturally in foods. (source )

Compared to folate found naturally in foods, you need less folic acid to get the recommended amounts.

For example, 240 mcg of folic acid and 400 mcg of folate are both equal to 400 mcg of DFE. (source )

Folates During Pregnancy

Folate is important for lowering the risk of serious problems that occur during pregnancy that can affect the baby’s brain and spine. (source )

Foods You Can Find Fortified Folates In

You find fortified Folate mostly in breakfast cereal, and baked products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top-ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most fortified Folate, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Folate, DFE.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Author Image of Sara Niemelä

Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.