Vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in several functions in the body.
Function of Vitamin B9
- DNA Synthesis: Vitamin B9 is involved in the synthesis of DNA, which is the genetic material that controls cell growth and division.
- Red Blood Cell Production: Vitamin B9 is important for the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Fetal Development: Vitamin B9 is important for fetal development during pregnancy. It helps to prevent birth defects, such as neural tube defects.
- Brain Function: Vitamin B9 is important for brain function and may help to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
- Heart Health: Vitamin B9 may help to improve heart health by reducing levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Sources of Vitamin B9
- Leafy Greens: Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, are good sources of vitamin B9.
- Legumes: Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans, are also good sources of vitamin B9.
- Fortified Foods: Many foods, such as breakfast cereals and bread, are fortified with folic acid, which is a synthetic form of vitamin B9.
- Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits, are good sources of vitamin B9.
- Liver and Organ Meats: Liver and organ meats, such as chicken liver and beef liver, are also good sources of vitamin B9.
Vitamin B9 supplements are also available in various forms, including tablets and capsules. The recommended daily intake of vitamin B9 for adults is 400-800 mcg per day, although higher amounts may be needed for certain populations, such as pregnant and breastfeeding women. It’s important to obtain vitamin B9 from food sources whenever possible, as supplements may not provide the same health benefits as whole foods.