Vitamin B9 is a water-soluble B vitamin with many rich natural sources. Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 found in fortified foods and supplements. As with most vitamins, the natural form of vitamin B9 (folate) is preferred, and better for absorption.
Folic acid or vitamin B9 belongs to the family of water-soluble vitamins. It is essential to include this vitamin in your routine diet plan. The human body is capable of preparing this essential vitamin, and it is then stored in the liver. Daily requirements of the human body utilize a part of this stored vitamin and surplus amount is released out of the body through excretion. It performs some of the most vital functions of the body, including everything from RBC formation to energy production.
Symptoms of Folic Acid Deficiency
The deficiency symptoms of folic acid include
- Loss of memory,
- Restricted growth of the brain and nerves,
- Skin cracking, and
- Sore tongue.
Apart from those mentioned above, a deficiency of vitamin B9 may also lead to severe problems like
- heart palpitations,
- birth defects,
- bowel cancer, and
Moreover, infertility and sterility are also reported in patients that are deficient in this vitamin.
Health Benefits of Folic Acid
It has become very clear that vitamin B9 or folic acid is a treasure trove of benefits for the human body and is a great source of improving overall health. Here are some of the health benefits of this vitamin further elaborated to properly assess its significance:
Improves Heart Health — Folic acid is a significant tool in improving the working of the human heart. It does so by removing homocysteine, which is one of the major causes of heart attacks at early ages. It controls the level of deposition of cholesterol in the human heart, thus ensuring that our cardiovascular system is saved from various disorders
Prevents Stroke — Apart from causing heart attacks, homocysteine is also responsible for causing strokes, which are deadly events in the brain. Moreover, large amount of homocysteine in the body may also lead to weakening of bones, thus increasing the probability of frequent fractures. Folic acid, as mentioned before, helps in controlling the amount of this chemical in the body and reduces the fear of suffering a stroke.
Reduces Risk of Cancer — Folic acid is considered to be an essential component for reducing the occurrence of cancer in the human body. It helps eradicate the chances of cancer in various forms, including cervical cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer. Thus, it is recommended by doctors to include this vitamin in sufficient amounts in your daily diet plan.
Prevents Birth Defects — Folic acid is a reliable resource for limiting defects during pregnancy and the birth of a child. It is a common situation that pregnant women maintaining a diet deficient of this vitamin are far less likely to deliver a healthy child. The birth defects caused by its deficiency include neural tube defects. Thus, folic acid effectively improves the chances of giving birth to a healthy, happy child.
Builds Muscles — Folic acid is considered to be a muscle building component since it helps in the growth and maintenance of muscle tissues.
Promotes Formation of RBC — Vitamin B9 is an essential element in the formation of red blood cells (RBC). Also, this vitamin is a significant contributor for building and repairing skin cells in human body. The cells found in the small intestine lining are also fabricated from this vitamin. Folic acid is also responsible for replacing old cells with new ones, keeping our body fresh and new.
Coenzyme Activity — Folic acid is considered as a coenzyme, which effectively works in association with enzymes to perform the most desirable and important activities of the body, like the synthesis of DNA.
Increases Hemoglobin Level — Folic acid is responsible for improving the level of hemoglobin in human body. Hemoglobin is an essential component that helps in the transfer of oxygen to cells and organ systems that need it to function properly. This can boose energy levels and increase metabolic efficiency
Treats Mental Disorders — Folic acid is helpful in treating various mental and emotional disorders. For instance, it is helpful in treating anxiety and depression, which are two of the most common mental health problems suffered by people in today’s modern world.
The List of high folate foods:
- Kidney Beans
- Cooked Broccoli
- Green Peas
- Lady’s Fingers
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Folic Acid Side effects –
Although people taking folic acid generally don’t notice any side effects, some may experience these complaints while taking folic acid:
- Gas or bloating
- Poor appetite
- Funny taste in your mouth
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling depressed or overly excited
Folic acid Overdose
People taking too much folic acid may have the following complaints:
- Poor concentration
- Numbness or tingling
I’m Dr. Malini Bhat MD (Ayu); an Ayurvedic Doctor and a health blogger. Follow me on social media to get daily health tips which you can easily adapt to a healthy lifestyle.