Does your doctor ever tell you to get checked up for vitamin B9? Or you have seen someone taking up those vitamin pills? Well, then you must be wondering why this vitamin is so important and suggested to people. In this article, we will help uncover the immense benefits of Vitamin B9 while highlighting its importance in everyone’s life.
To start with, vitamin B9 is also known as Folic acid and has water-soluble properties. One of the most crucial functions of vitamin B9 is to convert complex food compounds like carbohydrates into simpler ones for efficient digestion. However, the importance doesn’t limit here. As we go ahead in this article, you will explore many hidden functions of vitamin B9 in our body that is very critical for anyone to live a healthy life.
If we talk about the metabolic pathway of vitamin B9 or folic acid in the body then it starts with its conversion to tetrahydrofolate (THF). The enzyme carrying out this conversion is named dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). Once metabolically processed, the THF is readily used by the body for various functions. The detailed information on its function, different sources, deficiency, and toxicity is described in the blog further.
One of the important roles of folic acid/vitamin B9 is in the formation of RBC’s. Folic acid also aids in cell division, nucleic acid synthesis, and enhancing brain development. Apart from these functions, it plays a pivotal role in the maintenance of cells and tissue throughout the various stages of growth .i.e. infancy, childhood, teenage, and adulthood. Because of these attributes, it is advisable that pregnant ladies should take folic acid as a supplement as it has a protective effect against congenital deformities related to the brain and spine, a congenital heart defect, and other abnormalities. It is also helpful in preventing natural miscarriages.
Folic acid has also shown an anti-inflammatory response thus making it useful to gain relief against pain related to arthritis. Increased levels of homocysteine found in the blood are known to cause heart-related disorders. Studies have shown that regular intake of folic acid lowers the level of homocysteine thus showing protective potential against heart-related disorders.
Vitamin B9 has a very important role to play with the cognitive function of the brain which in turn helps in maintaining brain cells thus improving memory, concentration and keeping away from the risk of getting psychological disorders such as schizophrenia, hallucinations, etc. As it is known, folic acid reduces the levels of homocysteine thus keeping the brain health maintained and preventing from developing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Intake of folic acid also aids one in balancing mood swings also keeping away from developing anxiety, depression, and mental fatigue.
Other beneficial properties of folic acid are: it is very much helpful in keeping eyes healthy. Thus eliminating the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin B9 is a rich source of antioxidants indicating beneficial effects in rejuvenating skin, reducing dark circles, wrinkles, a fine line, in short, maintaining the skin health properly.
The role of folic acid in cell division and DNA synthesis has a suppressing effect on early-stage cancer thus reducing the risk of various types of cancer. Deficiency in vitamin B9 has shown a correlation with developing the risk of breast cancer in women, a recent study conducted by researchers.
Overall vitamin B9 has varied roles to play throughout the body by improving bone strength, keeping liver and kidneys healthy, aiding to treat arsenic-related poisoning, boosting fertility, and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Vitamin B9 is found in a variety of food sources. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin B9 is produced in less amount in the body and hence one needs to strictly depend on an external source to maintain the proper ratio in the body. Some of the easily available sources of Vitamin B9 in our daily food items are mentioned below:
Vegetables: Spinach, artichoke, turnip greens, okra, broccoli, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, parsnip, lettuce, beets, potato, lentils, peas, and beans
Fruits: avocado, papaya, kiwi, and orange
Grains: pasta, bagel, and bread.
Nuts and seeds: peanuts, soy seeds, and sunflower seeds
Cereals: Breakfast cereals, cakes, cookies, cornmeal, crackers, etc.
Dairy and other products: Egg yolk, baker’s yeast, milk, salmon, meat.
The reason for the deficiency of vitamin B9 is only observed when a healthy diet is compromised. People addicted to alcohol are the ones, most vulnerable to vitamin B9 deficiency as in such cases absorption of folate is compromised. Vitamin B9 deficiency is also observed in people suffering from digestive disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, Chron’s disease, and in pregnant ladies. One of the known condition which arises due to vitamin B9 deficiency is known as megaloblastic anaemia. Megaloblastic anemia is a severe condition of anemia in which there is a lack of folic acid in the diet thus leading to malabsorption of the folate in the body which later leads to decreased production of RBCs and are larger in size than that of normal RBC cell. Extremesymptomsinclude loss of appetite, weakness, fatigue, breathlessness, irregular heartbeat, low bone density, problems with memory, and concentration.
Taking overdosage of vitamins could be toxic to the body thus causing side effects such as changes in sleep pattern, mental irritability, skin reactions, loss of appetite, nausea, seizure, and gastrointestinal problems.
Vitamin B9 is a water-soluble vitamin that is excreted from urine. The suggested dietary intake of folate is 400mcg but for pregnant women, it is 400 to 800 mcg every day but strictly to be taken after proper a consultation from the doctor.
To conclude, vitamin B9, a water-soluble vitamin has varied beneficial effects on the brain, heart skin, etc. One should always have a healthy diet that includes food rich in vitamin B9 in order to keep all the diseases away but not taking in access which will lead to side effects as well.
Drafted By : Genetic Healing
Edited By : Dr. Amol Raut
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