Vitamin B9 in Vitaminfood: Why Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) is essential in your body

This is another important part of the micronutrients. Vitamin B9 works in close coordination with Vitamins B6 and B9 to ensure that the body functions optimally. Vitaminfood vegan meal replacement shakes provide an adequate amount of all the three. This greatly promotes its efficiency.

It is a water-soluble component meaning that it is mostly found dissolved within blood plasma if not in reserves. B9 occurs in two forms:

  1. Folate - the naturally occurring form of the compound obtained from plants and other natural sources.
  2. Folic acid - the synthetic form of the Vitamin. It is very similar to the natural folate in terms of structure. This makes it resourceful in supplementing the natural one. The functions performed are similar and no serious differences in the way the body perceives these two have been noted.

Folic acid vs folate; is there any difference?

Folic acid is also called pteroylglutamic acid or folacin and is a part of the B complex. Because they are nearly identical in molecular structure, folic acid and folate are considered by many to be the same thing. But they aren't.

The difference between folate and folic acid is the processes of conversion they undergo in the body. Folate is converted into its active form called 5-MTHF within the gut. It is in this form that it is used readily in various parts of the body.

Folic acid, however, is converted into 5-MTHF within the muscles and the liver. For folic acid, absorption into the blood-stream has to occur first then the conversion for use occurs in the respective tissues. Because of this reason, a larger proportion of folic acid compared to folate is left unmetabolized and in circulation in the general body plasma. This process proceeds at a much slower pace in these tissues as they are less adapted to it and are less efficient.

Folic acid is still healthy and this should not raise an alarm as its toxicity levels are quite high and rarely results in harmful consequences.

Despite these shortcomings, folic acid is inexpensive, non-toxic, and unlikely to cause side effects unless taken in excess. For these reasons, folic acid is used widely especially in preventing pregnancy complications and correcting nerve defects.

 

Importance of Vitamin B9 in the body

  1. Coenzyme in the production of nucleic acids and amino acids.

This means that B9 is essential for the production of healthy, well-structured and fully developed nucleic acid for RNA, DNA and amino acids.

  1. Essential for the breakdown and usage of VitaminB12 and C. These are other very key vitamins that play roles in our immunity and neural functioning respectively. Without VitaminB9, their functions are also impaired showing how wide-spread an effect could be felt.
  2. Prevent neural tube defects especially in infants and embryos. Folic acid is central to early child development during the very onset of pregnancy. In the first month, at times even before the pregnancy is discovered, healthy amounts could save one from neural tube defects and consecutive miscarriages.

Some of these defects include spina bifida which are malformations in the spinal cord and the vertebra bones surrounding it and anencephaly where the major part of the cranium is missing.

Several studies have proven the correlation between folate levels and these conditions with a 50% + deficiency prevalence in the recorded cases. The conclusion drawn is that maintaining healthy B9 levels during your child-bearing age is extremely impactful in the babies’ health.

  1. Prevent megaloblastic anemia. Because of its role in amino acids synthesis, Vitamin B9 can help ensure that red blood cells produced are fully developed and well-structured for oxygen transfer.
  1. Regulates the blood homocysteine levels thereby preventing hyperhomocysteinemia (a condition in which the level of this amino acid is above the normal amounts) Vitamin B9 is also used in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine, an amino acid that’s used for protein synthesis or converted into S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a compound that acts as a primary methyl donor in your body and is necessary for numerous cellular reactions

 

Other uses of Vitamin B9 in the body include:

Used in the adjunctive treatment of mental health disorders like depression.

Promote positive brain health and recovery from dementia

Normal metabolism of the immune system

Healthy and normal cell division by maintaining the synthesis, repair and methylation of the DNA

Promotes normal vision especially in old age.

Healthy growth of maternal tissue during pregnancy periods

Preventing skin and other eye disorders.

 

Deficiencies

Folate is involved in several vital metabolic processes, and deficiency leads to an array of negative health outcomes.The table below shows the recommended daily intake levels. Vitaminfood healthy meal replacements can help you obtain these required amounts and this way help keep out any deficiencies.

Daily recommended folic acid:

Category

Age

Daily amount of folic acid

Babies

0–6 months

65 mcg ( micrograms)

7–12 months

80 mcg

Children

1–3 years

150 mcg

4–8 years

200 mcg

9–13 years

300 mcg

13–18 years

400 mcg

Men

Over 18 years

400 mcg

 

Some of the most common symptoms for a Vitamin B9 deficiency include:

 

  1. Anemia- this is megaloblastic anemia which is also called macrocytic. It is characterized by larger than usual red blood cells that are not well developed.
  2. General body weakness which is due to the inadequacy of oxygen in some tissues and the reduced rate of metabolism
  3. Thrombocytopenia – this is a condition characterized by an extremely low number of platelets in the blood exposing one to a risk of excessive bleeding.
  4. Weight loss
  5. Cracking and soreness of tongue and mouth. The tongue develops a condition called glossitis because of inflammation that is common with all B vitamins deficiency.
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Neural tube defects in infants and fetus
  8. Low birth weight and preterm delivery – Vitamin B helps prevent common neural tube defects. If they occur, the growth of the child is impaired because of poor coordination from the underdeveloped nervous system leading to premature termination of pregnancy and low birth weight.
  9. Leukopenia – this is having a low count of white blood cells, especially the neutrophils. This in effect weakens the bodies’ defense.

 

Common causes for a deficiency are:

Alcoholism impairs the digestive and absorption processes. This also reduces the nutrient intake from meals.

Ulcerative colitis and other gut defects which obviously impact the absorption of these nutrients especially if it occurs in the stomach.

Kidney dialysis could filter out some of the Vitamin leaving an inadequate amount

Liver disease affects the storage organ which also serves a modulatory function to flush out excesses.

 

 Supplementing with Vitaminfood

Supplementing is one easy and quick way to get back to the normal levels or even to ensure that you do not get a deficiency in the first place. Vitaminfood is a reliable and sustainable solution, ensuring that your Vitamin B9 levels do not drop below the normal blood levels. It does the same thing for every other nutrient.

Why go for multiple supplements while you can get it all in a single meal replacement shake? Vitaminfood gives complete nutrition in its required amounts.

 

References

  1. https://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/biology/nutrition-vitamins-and-minerals/content-section-1.6.5
  2. https://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/vitamin-b9-folic-acid
  3. https://www.verywellhealth.com/folic-acid-for-fibromyalgia-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-715983
  4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/folic-acid/
  5. https://www.nutri-facts.org/en_US/nutrients/vitamins/b9/health-functions.html