Vitamin B9

By: Taylor

What is Vitamin B9?

A water soluble vitamin, vitamin B9 is a vital component required by the body. It belongs to the family of the 8 group of B vitamins. Vitamin B9 is also known by the name; folacin or folate while its chemical name is pteroylglutamic acid.

Functions of Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 performs multiple functions in the human body:

Helps in maintaining a healthy nervous system
It helps in the production of DNA and RNA
It aids in protein metabolism and in the treatment of folic acid anemia
It is essential for the proper functioning of the brain and for maintaining a good mental and emotional health
By lowering the homocysteine levels in the blood, it reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease.
It helps in the production of red blood cells and certain chemical components needed by the body
It helps in maintaining a healthy liver and also helps in increasing the appetite of a person
According to research, vitamin B9 prevents lung cancer
In women, it is shown to improve the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and also prevents colon cancer.
It is also known to prevent cancer of the breast, pancreatic, stomach and cervical.
It is regarded as an important component for pregnant women as it prevents miscarriage, neural tube birth defects like spina bifida, cleft palate and brain damage.
Sources of Vitamin B9

The good sources of vitamin B9 are:

Animal Products:

egg Yolk, liver, milk, kidney,

Vegetable and Fruit Products:

broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, root vegetables, spinach, lettuce, bananas, melons, lemon, orange, tomatoes, peas, jack potato, papaya, kiwi, and asparagus.


Sunflower seeds, whole wheat bread, bakerís yeast, lentils, dry roasted soybeans, peanuts

Deficiency of Vitamin B9

The deficiency of vitamin B9 is associated with the following:

It may lead to the development of spina bifida during early fetal development in pregnant women. It may also lead to an abortion and premature birth. Babies born to folate deficient mothers may develop such complications as; defects of the nervous system, low birth weight and improper mental development, limb disorders, anencephaly and congenital heart disorders.
The high level of homocysteines due to deficiency of vitamin B9 in the body can lead to stress related disorders like depression, insomnia, anxiety.
In infants a vitamin B9 deficiency can lead to childhood leukemia
It increases the chances of developing pre-eclampsia in a mother
Deficiency in adults results in gastric, breast, colorectal and prostrate cancers.
Deficiency of vitamin B9 causes infertility and sterility in patients.
Poor level of homocysteine level can lead to blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.
Long term deficiency of vitamin B9 results in anemia
It can lead to osteoporosis, and bowel and cervix cancer
Recommended Dietary Allowance of Vitamin B9

Age Group Adequate Intake mcg/day
Infants0-6 months
7-12 months

65 mcg
80 mcg

Children 1-3 years
4-8 years

150 mcg
200 mcg

Males9-13 years
14 years and older

300 mcg
400 mcg

Females9-13 years
14 years and older

300 mcg
400 mcg

Pregnant Females 600 mcg
Breast-Feeding Females 500 mcg
Tips and Warnings

Vitamin B9 is more effective when taken with other group of B vitamins like vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
Pregnant women are advised to take little supplements of vitamin B9 to prevent the occurrence of spina bifida and other congenital birth defects in babies. However, the advice of the doctor should be sought.
Light and heat and storage for an extended period of time can destroy the vitamin.
Those on medicines for the treatment of epilepsy should take the advice of a doctor before consuming vitamin B9. This is because vitamin B9 is known to disrupt the proper functioning of the drugs.
Excess amount of vitamin B9 may lead to digestive problems, fatigue, insomnia, anemia, sleep disturbances, skin problems etc.
Care should be taken when having vitamin B9 along with antacids, aspirin, oral contraceptives, antibiotics and vitamin B12. Always consult your doctor if you are on any of the above medications.

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