vitamin B9
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What Is Vitamin B9 Aka Folic Acid?

Water-soluble vitamin B9 is a water soluble vitamin that comes in its natural form as folate (present in a wide variety of foods) and in synthetic form as a folic acid (supplement and fortified foods). Folic acid is more readily absorbed than that obtained from food sources (85% vs. 50%, respectively). (Source)

What Are The Functions Of Vitamin B9 Aka Folic Acid?

DNA Synthesis and Cell Division: Vitamin B9 is crucial for DNA synthesis and cell division. It plays a fundamental role in the growth, development, and repair of tissues. This is particularly important during periods of rapid cell division, such as during pregnancy and infancy. (Source)

Red Blood Cell Formation: Folate is necessary for the production of red blood cells. It helps prevent certain types of anemia, including megaloblastic anemia, which is characterized by abnormally large and immature red blood cells.

Prevention of Neural Tube Defects: Adequate intake of vitamin B9, especially during early pregnancy, is essential for the development of the fetal neural tube, which eventually becomes the baby’s brain and spinal cord. A deficiency in folate during pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects in the developing fetus, such as spina bifida.

Homocysteine Regulation: Vitamin B9 is involved in the breakdown of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, and folate helps regulate these levels. (Source)

Brain and Cognitive Function: Some studies suggest that adequate levels of folate are important for cognitive function, and a deficiency may be linked to cognitive decline. Folate is involved in various brain functions and may play a role in mood regulation.

Methylation Reactions: Folate serves as a coenzyme in various methylation reactions in the body. Methylation is a key biochemical process that regulates gene expression, among other functions.

Mood and Mental Health: Folate may have a role in mood regulation and is sometimes used as an adjunct treatment for depression. Adequate folate intake may support mental health.

Heart Health: Folate is associated with heart health, as it helps regulate homocysteine levels, which can impact cardiovascular health. It may contribute to the health of blood vessels and the overall cardiovascular system. (Source)

Preventing Birth Defects: Folic acid supplementation is recommended for women of childbearing age and pregnant women to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in newborns. This preventive measure has been successful in reducing the incidence of such birth defects.

Also Read: If Sugar is So Bad For Us, Why is the Sugar in Fruit OK?

How Much Vitamin B9 Do I Need? What Are The Recommended Amounts?

b9 vitamin
AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
Birth to 6 months*65 mcg DFE*65 mcg DFE*
7–12 months*80 mcg DFE*80 mcg DFE*
1–3 years150 mcg DFE150 mcg DFE
4–8 years200 mcg DFE200 mcg DFE
9–13 years300 mcg DFE300 mcg DFE
14–18 years400 mcg DFE400 mcg DFE600 mcg DFE500 mcg DFE
19+ years400 mcg DFE400 mcg DFE600 mcg DFE500 mcg DFE
Source: NIH

*Adequate Intake (AI)

RDA: The amount of dietary folate equivalents in micrograms (mcg) is the recommended daily allowance for folate (DFE). Aim for 400 mcg DFE for men and women who are at least 19 years old. Women who are pregnant or nursing need 600 mcg DFE and 500 mcg DFE, respectively.

UL: The daily dose that is most likely to prevent harmful side effects in the general population is known as a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults for folic acid from fortified food or supplements (excluding folate from food) is 1,000 mcg.

What Happens If There Is Excess Of Vitamin B9?

Folic acid intake beyond 1 mg may disguise the signs of vitamin B12 insufficiency, which if left untreated can eventually harm the nervous system. As you age, it gets harder to absorb vitamin B12, therefore this is a worry in particular for the elderly. (Source)

What Are The Food Sources Of Vitamin B9?  What Are The Food Of Contain Vitamin B9?

vitamin b9

Despite the fact that a wide range of foods naturally contain folate, folic acid, which is added to foods and supplements, is more readily absorbed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandated in January 1998 that food producers add folic acid to commonly consumed meals, such as slices of bread, rice, and other grain products, to lower the risk of neural tube abnormalities. Folate-rich foods include:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables (turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli) (Source)
  • Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fresh fruits, fruit juices
  • Whole grains (Source)
  • Liver
  • Seafood
  • Eggs

Deficiency Of Vitamin B9: The Possible Disorders And Their Symptoms

Because folate may be found in a variety of foods, folate deficiencies are uncommon. However, the following circumstances may make persons more vulnerable:

  • Alcoholism. Alcohol slows down the body’s ability to absorb folate and hastens the rate at which folate is broken down and eliminated. Additionally, alcoholics frequently consume poor-quality diets that are deficient in foods containing folate.
  • Pregnancy. Because folate is important for the fetus’s cell development, pregnant women need more of it.

Signs of deficiency: megaloblastic anemia weakness, fatigue; irregular heartbeat; shortness of breath; difficulty concentrating; hair loss; pale skin; mouth sores. (Source)

pregnancy

Toxicity Of Vitamin B9 In Case Of Excess Of Vitamin B9

When consuming folate through food sources, it is highly uncommon to achieve a hazardous level. The recommended daily intake of folic acid is 1,000 micrograms, however, studies have shown that larger doses may disguise a vitamin B12 deficiency. In elderly persons or people who consume a vegan diet, this insufficiency is more prevalent than a B12 deficiency. A deficiency in either folate or B12 can cause anemia since both nutrients are necessary for the production of red blood cells.

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