February 10, 2014

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 (aka: folate, folic acid, folicin) is a water-soluble B vitamin with many rich natural sources. Vitamin B9 (folate) is required for numerous body functions including DNA synthesis and repair, cell division, and cell growth. A deficiency of folate can lead to anemia in adults, and slower development in children.

Functions of Vitamin B9

  • Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health. 
  • It aids in the production of DNA and RNA, the body's genetic material, and is especially important when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, such as in infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy. 
  • Folic acid also works closely with vitamin B12 to help make red blood cells and help iron work properly in the body.
  • The body needs Vitamin B9 Folic Acid to create and maintain healthy blood cells and prevent anemia

Sources



  • Vegetable Sources - The richest sources of folate are dark-green, leafy vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, spinach, kale, greens, escarole, chard, arugula, bok choy, mache, radicchio, and rapini. Other good vegetables that contain folate are cabbage, avocados, beets, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
  • Fruit Sources - Citrus fruits are the best fruit sources of folic acid, including oranges and orange juice. Other fruits that contain folate are cantaloupe, bananas, and dates.
  • Bean and Legume Sources - Beans and legumes are a good source of folate, including lentils, peas, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, chickpeas, and soybeans.
  • Fortified Grain Sources - Grain products that have been fortified with folic acid are another good source of the vitamin. This includes foods such as breads and cereals enriched with folic acid.
  • Meat Sources - Liver is a good source of folate. Most other meats are poor sources of vitamin B9, but turkey and chicken contain some.


Daily Recommendation

  • 19 years and older: 400 mcg (RDA)
  • Pregnant women: 600 mcg (RDA)
  • Breastfeeding women: 500 mcg (RDA)

Deficiency

Poor dietary intake of folic acid can result in growth retardation, macrocytic anemia, glossitis, and gastro-intestinal disorders.  Folate deficiency seems to be connected to cervical dysplasia. It has also been linked with coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease.

Prone to deficiency
  • Women who are pregnant 
  • People who suffer from absorption disorders like ulcerative colitis
  • Alcoholics
  • People who are taking some prescribed medicines (like methotrexate and cholestyramine)

Symptoms
Symptoms of folic acid (vitamin B9) deficiency include anemia and mood disorders. Low levels of folic acid may contribute to depression, possibly because of a resulting lowering of neurotransmitter levels. In more extreme cases of folic acid deficiency, symptoms including macrocytic anaemia, weakness, fatigue, mood instability, problems breathing, anorexia, diarrhea, weight loss, headaches, and palpitations may occur.

Overdose
Mega-doses of folic acid do not have any added therapeutic benefits. Extremely large dosages (more than 15,000 mcg) can result in digestive problems, insomnia, skin reactions, and even seizures.

Zinc, estrogen, anticonvulsant drugs, and sulfasalazine may be less efficiencly absorbed if taken with folic acid. Folate taken in high dosages (5 to 30 mg) has been shown to result in a possible increase in the frequency of seizures for people who suffer from epilepsy.

References
                          Vitamin Info
                          UMM,
                          Picture

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