Folic acid, or more commonly known as Vitamin B9, is a form of water-soluble vitamin that belongs to the vitamin B-complex. Vitamin B9 is said to be a vital part in bodily functions. The body of a human being requires folate to be able to synthesize DNA, repair DNA and methylate DNA. This vitamin also acts as a cofactor in biological reactions which involve folate. Vitamin B9 has a major role in rapid cell division and growth, like infancy and pregnancy. Adults and children both need folic acid to prevent anemia and generate healthy red blood cells.
The human body has the capability to prepare this essential vitamin, after which it will be stored in the liver. Daily requirements of the human body use a part of this stored vitamin, while the surplus amount is released out of the body through excretion. Some of the most important functions of folic acid is red blood cell formation and energy production.
Two of the most important food sources of Vitamin B9 include liver and kidney. Other great sources of this vitamin are bananas, brewer’s yeast, beans, brown rice, cauliflower, cheese, green vegetables, legumes, lentils, mushrooms, oranges, peas, and vegetables.
Some of the health benefits of taking Vitamin B9 include preventing heart disorders, cancer, stroke, birth and pregnancy defects as well as mental and emotional disorders, cell enhancement, building muscles, and formation of hemoglobin. Below are the elaborated health benefits of folic acid for you to weigh its significance in your daily diet:
- Heart disorders: A good health benefit of Vitamin B9 is that it is an essential component to help improve the work of the human heart. It does its work by removing homocysteine — a major cause of heart attacks at early stages. Folic acid helps control the level of deposition of cholesterol on human heart, thus, making sure that the heart is safe from several disorders.
- Stroke: Homocysteine is also responsible for causing stroke, aside from causing heart attacks as mentioned earlier. Stroke is a deadly disorder of the human brain. Additionally, a human body that has a huge amount of homocysteine may result in the weakening of bones, therefore increasing the probability of frequent fractures. Vitamin B9 helps counter such diseases by controlling the amount of this chemical in the body, hence reducing the chances of having a stroke.
- Cancer: Another health benefit of folic acid is that it helps in the reduction of the occurrence of cancer in the human body. It eradicates the chances of having cancer in various forms, such as colon cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer. As such, this vitamin is recommended by doctors to be included in appropriate amounts in a daily diet plan.
- Pregnancy and birth defects: Vitamin B9 is a good source for inhibiting defects during the birth of a child as well as pregnancy. It is said to be a typical situation that pregnant women who are fed upon diet deficient of Vitamin B9 are not capable of delivering a healthy child. Also, the birth defects caused by folic acid deficiency include neural tube defects. As such, this vitamin is effective in hindering these occurrences from happening.
- Building muscles: Because Vitamin B9 is considered a component in muscle building, a great health benefit of the vitamin is that it helps in growth and maintenance of muscle tissues.
- Cell enhancement: Folic acid is an effective element in the formation of red blood cells. Additionally, this vitamin is an essential contributor for building and repairing skin cells in the human body. The cells found in the lining of the small intestine are also fabricated from Vitamin B9. This vitamin is also responsible for replacing old cells with new cells.
- Coenzyme: Since folic acid is considered as a coenzyme, it works effectively with other enzymes to perform the most important body activities, such as synthesizing DNA.
- Hemoglobin formation: Another health benefit of Vitamin B9 is that it helps improve the hemoglobin level in the human body. Hemoglobin is a vital component that helps in transfer of oxygen. Therefore, this vitamin should be considered as an important contributor in the formation of hemoglobin.
- Emotional and mental disorders: A great health benefit of consuming Vitamin B9 is that it helps in the treatment of emotional and mental incapability. For example, it helps in the treatment of anxiety and depression, two of the most common mental health problems.
Vitamin B9 deficiency symptoms
Some of the symptoms that a person is deficient of folic acid include anemia, memory loss, paranoia, restricted growth of brain and nerves, skin cracking, sore tongue, and weakness. Aside from those mentioned earlier, people who lack Vitamin B9 in their system may suffer from serious problems such as birth defects, bowel cancer, heart palpitations, leucopenia and osteoporosis. Additionally, infertility and sterility are also reported in patients suffering from folic acid deficiency.