Difference Between Folic Acid and Folinic Acid

Folic acid and folinic acid are two vitamin B sources. Both of folic and folinic acids are available in natural food, and also it can be taken as a drug. The key difference between folic acid and folinic acid is their structure and stability. Folic acid is an oxidized synthetic compound that is used in food fortification and dietary supplements. It is more stable and bioavailable than folinic acid. In contrast, folinic acid is a metabolically active form of folic acid which does not require the enzymatic conversion.

What is Folic Acid?

Folic acid is called as folate, pteroyl-L-glutamic acid, Vitamin B9 or Vitamin Bc. It is vitamin B and the name folic acid, or folate, was derived from a Latin word called folium. It has the meaning of ‘leaf’ and folic acid is rich in vegetables having dark green leaves. Folic acid helps our body to produce and maintain healthy new cells, and it prevents changes to DNA which may lead to cancers.  It is a very important drug for women during the pregnancy period. Getting a sufficient amount of folic acid during pregnancy period prevents major defects of the newborn baby’s brain or spine. To treat pernicious anemia, folic acid is sometimes used with a combination of the other drugs.

It is necessary to consult your doctor when you take folic acid during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Moreover, folic acid should not be consumed if you are suffering from an infection, pernicious anemia, hemolytic anemia, anemia, kidney disease, or alcoholism. You should strictly follow doctor’s instructions and should take the prescribed dosage, when you take folic acid. It says having folic acid with a full glass of water is good. Storage conditions for folic acid are at room temperature and in a place where there is no moisture and heat.

What is Folinic Acid?

Folinic acid is a vitamin B; it is also called Leucovorin. Its usages are to reduce the harmful effects of certain drugs such as pyrimethamine (Daraprim) or trimetrexate (Neutrexin) and to treat certain types of anemia and cancers.

As a drug, folinic acid is available in 5 mg tablets. It can be taken with or without food. Also, it can be injected into veins (intravenous) or into a muscle in an arm or buttock (intramuscular). The dosage varies depending on the severity of the situation. For example, for the prevention of an adverse effect caused by pyrimethamine (Daraprim), the usual daily dosage is 10 mg to 25 mg.

When you take folinic acid with certain drugs, it can interfere with them; examples including phenytoin (DilantinTM), phenobarbital and primidone (mysolineR). Therefore, to prevent such problems, your doctor and the pharmacist should be aware of the drugs you are currently taking. Moreover, you should tell about the natural products you are taking. As well as if you wish to take a new drug or a natural product while you are taking folinic acid, you should inform the doctor before taking.

If you are pregnant or if you are breastfeeding; you should discuss with the doctor about this matter as well. The storage of this drug should be done in a dry place (15-300C).

What is the difference between Folic Acid and Folinic Acid?


Folic Acid: Folic acid highly stable and commonly available. It requires an activation in the body to exert its activity.

Folinic Acid: Folinic acid rapidly converts to methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHF) avoiding several steps involved in the metabolism. Sometimes, it floats rapidly increasing plasma levels.


Folic Acid: Folic acid is available in fortified products such as bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, white rice and other products which contain enriched flour and supplements.

Folinic Acid: Folinic acid is one of the naturally occurring forms of folates. It can be found in many natural foods like beans, green leaves, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, and beets.


Image Courtesy:

1. “Folic acid” by Calvero. – Selfmade with ChemDraw [Public Domain] via Commons

2. “Folinic acid” by Fvasconcellos – Own work. [Public Domain] via Commons