Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid
Vitamin B9, also called folate, folic acid, or vitamin M is one of eight (8) B vitamins. (And, no you can’t take double the amount and call it M&M). All B vitamins help the body convert carbohydrates into fuel glucose to produce energy.
Purpose: Folic acid is important for proper brain function and plays a significant 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 helps iron work properly in the body.
Research shows that folic acid is effective in lowering homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is a form of amino acid that is present in certain meats, and it can cause damage to arterial walls, which will in turn lead to the occurrence of atherosclerosis. This condition causes diseases such as stroke and heart diseases.
Sources: Here are some of the foods in order from highest to lowest to eat to get your folic acid: cereals (fortified), lentils, spinach, asparagus, pasta, rice, almonds, broccoli, cashews, endive lettuce, egg noodles, parsnip, walnuts, avocado, turnip, cheddar cheese, grapefruit, onions, raspberries, sweet potato, banana, and apple.
Recommended daily Allowances: The recommended allowance for 19 years and older is 400 mcg. My multivitamin has 400 mcg.
High levels of folate can hide a vitamin B12 deficiency. Also many medications lower folic acid in the body.
If you take medications, you should not use folic acid supplements without first talking to your health care provider.
Some of the folic acid deficiency symptoms include no appetite, intestinal and stomach problems such as constipation and diarrhea, smooth, red painful tongue, fatigue and tiredness, anemia, insomnia, mental fatigue, poor memory, prematurely graying hair, and cracked lips.