Vitamin B9 or folate is primarily popular for its usefulness in fetal health and development. folate is required for DNA synthesis and for the metabolism of amino acids. It is also recommended for the prevention of spinal cord defects. Let’s see some benefits of folate.
Benefits of Vitamin B9
It Prevents Birth Defects
This vitamin seems to be the most mentioned with pregnant women. This is because if its ability to prevent birth defects and ensure proper spinal development of an unborn baby. A deficiency of this Vitamin in an expectant mother lead to severe challenges, neural tube defects inclusive.
It’s Involved in Coenzyme Activity
Vitamin B9 is such an essential co-enzyme. It works efficiently with other enzymes to perform a number of crucial processes of the body such as DNA synthesis.
It Supports Muscle Build-up
A harmless way of building and supporting muscle tissues is by taking vitamin B9 supplements. It is one of the best ways to ensure that muscles are protected from the effects of daily wear and tear.
It Combats Free Radicals
folate, as an antioxidant, destroys free radicals. The damage caused by these free radicals negatively affect the central nervous system and lead to complications such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. A regular consumption of folate eliminates toxins from the body and keeps the body safe from various diseases associated with free radicals.
It Prevents Cancer
Vitamin B9 consumption reduces the risk of having cancer.
It’s Good for Fertility
folate promotes the survival and development of the fetus. An insufficiency of it causes challenging health conditions for reproductive health.
It Prevents Premature Aging
Regularly consumption of folate delays the onset of aging signs such as wrinkles. Vitamin B9 supplements delay aging by preventing the production of stress hormones. That’s not all; it boosts metabolism and promotes efficient absorption of nutrients. These positively affect looks too.
It Prevents Heart Attacks
Excess homocysteine, a kind of amino acid, leads to heart complications and may eventually bring about a stroke. Vitamin B9 regulates the body’s level of homocysteine. This is beneficial to the heart.
What about the level of deposition of cholesterol in the human heart? Yes, folate controls it, preventing heart disorders too. folate, you can say, is your heart’s friend.
It Cures Mental Disorders
Folate supplements relieve mental disorders including anxiety and depression.
It Enhances Red Blood Cell Production
Vitamin B9 is required in enhancing the process of blood cell generation,
along with other B-complex vitamins. It is also a supplement used in treating anemia.
It Combats Depression
Folate has got antidepressant properties. It plays an important role in the production of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters which their imbalance may cause depression and anxiety.
Folate also increases estrogen levels and reverses depression symptoms in women after menopause.
Foods that are Rich in Vitamin B9
Legumes are the fruit or seed of any plant in the Fabaceae family. Beans, peas, and lentils are in this category. A cup (177 grams) of cooked kidney beans contains 131 mcg of folate. That’s about 33% of the recommended daily intake. And a cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils contains 358 mcg of folate, which is 90% of the recommended daily intake.
Legumes supply protein, fiber, and antioxidants. They also supply essential micronutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Asparagus contains loads of vitamins and minerals. Half a cup of cooked asparagus — 90 grams — contains about 134 mcg of foliate. That’s 34% of the recommended daily intake. Asparagus is a reliable source of heart-healthy fiber. What else? It is rich in antioxidants. It is anti-inflammatory too and has antibacterial properties.
Grapefruit, lemons, oranges, and limes are rich in folate. A large orange contains 55 mcg of folate. Beyond this, they are associated with lowering the risk of certain cancers — breast, stomach and pancreatic.
Brussels sprouts are bursting with loads of vitamins and minerals. They’re particularly high in folate. Half a cup of cooked Brussels sprouts provides up to 47 mcg of folate.
Did you know that a large egg contains 23.5 mcg of vitamin B9? Eggs are also loaded with riboflavin, protein, selenium, and vitamin B12. They have high lutein and zeaxanthin too — two antioxidants that reduce the risk of eye disorders.
Talk about spinach, kale and arugula — these low-calorie vegetables have high contents of vital vitamins and minerals. A cup of raw spinach provides 58.2 mcg.
Beets are rich in vitamin B9, manganese, potassium, and vitamin C. A cup of raw beets containing 148 mcg. Beets are also high in nitrates — a type of plant compound that’s capable of ensuring a healthy heart.
It Reduces Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome is a condition identified by the urge to move the legs, especially at night. Pregnant women are particularly prone to developing the condition, however, anyone can experience it.
It has been discovered that low levels of folate may be associated with the development of restless legs syndrome, especially during pregnancy. Administering folic acid reduces the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
- Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and added to fortified foods such as bread and cereals.
- The process of adding a vitamin to other foods is called fortification. Hence, a cereal that has added vitamins is called fortified.
- Folic acid is named from a Latin word, “folium” which means leaf. This is as a result of leafy vegetables being rich in folic acid.
- A deficiency of folic acid may cause mental confusion, memory loss, depression, nerve damage, swollen tongue, diarrhea, weakness, shortness of breath, headaches, funny heartbeats (palpitations), irritability, and ulcers.
- A deficiency in folic acid can also cause a decrease in the number of red blood cells in the body. This condition is called anemia. The type of anemia caused by folic acid deficiency is called a macrocytic anemia.
- Macrocytic means “large cells.” which suggests that people who don’t consume sufficient vitamin B9 have low levels of red blood cells, and the individual red blood cells are really large.
- Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that is naturally found in some foods
- Folate-deficient women who become pregnant are at a high risk of having babies of low birth weight, and with neural tube defects.
- Getting folate from natural food sources is perfectly safe, however, consuming folic acid excessively from fortified foods or supplements may veil other nutrient deficiencies and could also be associated with a higher risk of cancer.
Folic Acid Side Effects
- trouble sleeping
- gas or bloating
- poor appetite
- funny taste in the mouth
Signs of Folate Deficiency
- pale skin
- premature hair graying
- stunted growth
- shortness of breath
- heart palpitations
- difficulty concentrating
- weight loss
Signs of Folic Acid Overdose
- numbness or tingling
- poor concentration
Notwithstanding the level of folic acid consumption, taking certain drugs can deplete it. Such drugs are:
- Methotrexate (Trexall, Rheumatrex)
- Diuretics or water pills
- Certain ulcer medications
- Exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or diclofenac
- A number of antibiotics
Now you know! There really isn`t anything as good for the health as eating right. Being deliberate about food intake goes a long way in bringing about good health. What are you waiting for? Get some folate into your system.