Vitamin B9 Function.
Vitamin B9 is more commonly known as folic acid, the synthetic form that is used in fortified foods and supplements. It can also prevent memory loss, relieve symptoms of depression, and is vital for the growth and development of babies during pregnancy.
B9 works with B12 and B6, as well as other nutrients, to control the levels of homocysteine in the blood. High homocysteine levels are linked to heart disease, though researchers don’t know whether it’s simply a marker indicating the presence of heart disease or the cause of it.
It’s necessary for the healthy immune, nervous, and digestive systems and also for producing energy, red blood cell formation, cell division, and the synthesis of DNA and RNA. It’s necessary for replicating DNA, as well as sustaining the bone marrow’s healthy level of red blood cells.
For pregnant women, it’s vital, especially in early pregnancy, in preventing birth defects relating to the brain and the spine. Pregnant women who do not consume enough give birth to premature babies and deliver babies with low birth weights.
There are plenty of food sources that provide vitamin B9 including beans, dark leafy greens, bulgur wheat, asparagus, milk, salmon, beets, root vegetables, chicken, whole grains, nuts, citrus fruits, and broccoli.
Vitamin B9 Deficiency
Vitamin B9 deficiency is fairly common, and there are issues that can cause the deficiency, including celiac disease, alcoholism, and inflammatory bowel disease. Some medications can reduce the levels of B9 in the system.
The symptoms or results of a vitamin B9 deficiency include tongue inflammation, diarrhea, poor growth, gingivitis, mental sluggishness, irritability, loss of appetite, forgetfulness, and shortness of breath.
The recommended daily allowance, according to the National Academy of Sciences:
- Men and women over the age of 18 -200 mcg
- Breastfeeding women: 350 mcg
- Pregnant women: 400 mcg