Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) : The vitamin that enables rapid cell division and growth and is also the main fuel for productions of red blood cells to prevent anemia.

Folic acid, Vitamin B9, Folate or Folacin is necessary for healthy blood formation, enzyme efficiency, the division and growth of new cells and for maintaining a healthy intestinal tract. Folic acid is an essential water soluble vitamin that is required to form new healthy set of cells. Looking at the scientific results we can say that folic acid is the most researched vitamin from the group of vitamin B. These researches proved the importance of folic acid and its numerous health benefits.

This vitamin is of immense importance for cell division and growth, synthesis and repair of DNA, protein metabolism and proper functioning of the brain. It is also important for the production of healthy red blood cells. Folic acid is required by the body to produce ‘heme’, the component of hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying iron. Folic acid benefits for men and women are numerous.

Folic acid essential for efficient neural tube development during pregnancy which forms the brain and spinal cord. Pregnant women with an insufficient intake of folic acid are more likely to give birth prematurely or to deliver babies with low birth weight or with neural tube defects. The sulfa drugs are thought to achieve their antimicrobial effects by interfering with the production of folic acid within bacteria.

Vitamin B9 Benefits – Functions in the Body

Folic acid, in combination with vitamin B12, is essential for the formation, maturation and multiplication of red blood cells. It is necessary for the growth and division of all body cells, including nerve cells, and for manufacturing a number of nerve transmitters. It also produces nucleic acids, RNA (ribonucleic acid) and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), that carry hereditary patterns. It aids in protein metabolism and contributes to normal growth. Folic acid helps in the building of antibodies which prevent and heal infections. It is essential for the health of the skin and hair, and helps to prevent premature greying of the hair.

Vitamin B9 Deficiency Symptoms

Deficiency of folic acid causes anaemia which often occurs in pregnant women and children. Serious skin disorders, loss of hair, impaired circulation, a greyish-brown skin pigmentation, fatigue, and mental depression can result from a deficiency of this vitamin. Reproductive disorders such as spontaneous abortions and difficult labour, and a high infant death rate can also be caused by folic acid deficiency. Vitamin B9 deficiency may also lead to loss of libido in males. According to studies, two-thirds of geriatric patients were found to be deficient in folic acid, while one-third of psychiatric patients were also deficient in this vitamin. Lack of folic acid can also lead to dementia.

Foods High in Folic Acid

The food items that contain iron, are rich sources of folic acid too. Folic acid reserves and consumptio are extremely important for development of a healthy body.

Foods High in Folic Acid and Iron

Spinach, asparagus,  fenugreek, corn, millet, finger millet, dates, almonds, broccoli, kale cabbage, parsley,  potatoes, raisins, fig, whole wheat pasta, okra, orange juice, black-eyed peas, lentils, sunflower seeds, grapes, pineapple juice, chickpeas and turnip greens are all the items that are high in folic acid and iron. Other than these, collard greens and every other green leafy vegetable is high in folic acid and iron.

Fruit Sources ( Avocado,  Blackberries, Boysenberries, Breadfruit, Cantaloupe, Cherimoya, Dates,  Guava,  Loganberries, Lychee,  Mango,  Orange,  Papaya,  Passion fruit,  Pineapple,  Pomegranate,  Raspberries,  Strawberries)

Vegetable sources (Amaranth Leaves ,Artichoke, Asparagus, Beet greens, Beet root,  Bok Choy,  Broccoli,  Brussels Sprouts, Carrot,  Chinese Broccoli,  Chinese CabbageFrench Beans,  Lima Beans, Mushrooms, Mustard greens, Okra, Parsley,  Parsnip,  Peas , Potatoes,  Spinach, Spirulina, Squash-summer, Squash – winter)

Nut/Grain Sources: (Buckwheat,  Chestnuts , Filberts/Hazelnuts, Oats,  Peanuts,  Quinoa,  Rye,  Sunflower Seeds,  Wheat – Durum, Wheat – Hard Red, Wheat – Hard White)

Legume Sources(Black Eye Peas, Edamame , Soy Bean)

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