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Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid):
Benefits, Sources, RDA, Deficiency

Vitamin B9

We have all been hearing a lot about folic acid lately, and many people already know that getting enough folic acid is important for any women who plans to get pregnant. Folic acid has a vital role to play in the protection of growing cells, including of course the cells of the growing baby.

Folic acid, also known as folacin or folate, is one of the B-complex vitamins, and it is also known as vitamin B9. Folic acid is manufactured by the body, but it can be stored by the liver as well. Folic acid helps to turn the food we eat into energy, and it also plays a vital role in producing heme, the iron rich substance contained in hemoglobin.

Folic acid is important to the growth of healthy cells and proper cell division as well, making it vital for all women of child-bearing age. A deficiency of folic acid during the earliest stages of pregnancy can result in serious birth defects, and for this reason many foods, from cereals to breads, are now supplemented with folic acid.

Dietary Sources of Folic Acid:

Some of the best sources of folic acid include green vegetables, starchy vegetables, fruits, beans and liver. In addition, many common processed foods are supplemented with folic acid.

Recommended Daily Intake of Folic Acid:

The recommended daily intake of folic acid is 400mcg.

Folic Acid Supplements:

Most folic acid supplements are about 400mcg, and folic acid is a part of most multivitamin formulas as well. Folic acid combines well with vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and vitamin C.

Side Effects and Toxicity of Folic Acid:

None are known.

Symptoms of Folic Acid Deficiency:

Symptoms of folic acid deficiency include acne and fatigue. Long-term deficiencies can lead to anemia and osteoporosis, as well as bowel and cervical cancer.

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