Folate is a water soluble B-vitamin that is found in the highest concentrations in liver (i.e. chicken & turkey, & beef liver). It is also found in most fruits & vegetables & legumes. The synthetic form of folate found in many supplements and fortified foods is called folic acid.
Folate or folic acid is recommended for all women who are trying to conceive. Most doctors now recommend 1mg of folic acid to women, starting at least 3 months prior to trying to conceive. Folate is important in helping to prevent neural tube defects, like Spina Bifida. Low folate levels have also been linked to miscarriages and infertility.
As always, I like to think about how a nutrient is actually being used in the body. Unfortunately, it is estimated that up to 60% of the population has a genetic issue that impairs the conversion of folic acid to its active form, methylfolate. In the human body, this conversion is done using an enzyme called methyltetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), assuming that you aren't one of the up to 60% that have a genetic mutation in that gene. Rather than doing genetic testing, I suggest that women just purchase the active form of folic acid, called methylfolate, or pick up a prenatal vitamin that contains methylfolate rather than folic acid. There are many different brands available in health food stores in Toronto. Seems like a simple solution to me!