The second last of the vitamin b-complex-family is vitamin B9, also called folic acid. Like other vitamins of the vitamin B complex, it also plays an important role in our metabolism. Today we are going to have a closer look on vitamin B9. And we will have an investigation on the question “What is Vitamin B9 Good for? – The Creator of New Life”.
Why is Vitamin B9 the Creator for New Life?
Vitamin B9 or folic acid has many different important tasks in our body.
And an essential task for vitamin B9 comes in place during the formation of a new human being.
This task amongst others is the support of the development of the base of our nerve system. It is called the neural tube.
Not only does vitamin B9 help to develop a functioning nervous system, but it is also crucial in processes where high rates of cell division and cell formation are necessary. And this occurs predominantly within the growth phase of an embryo.
So it is recommended for women, who want to get pregnant, to have their vitamin B9 level checked because good values of vitamin B9 are essential from the beginning until the end of the development of the unborn human being.
So vitamin B9 is obviously very interesting and important for women with a wish to have a child. But we will discover later in this blog post, that vitamin B9 is also interesting and essential for men, as well as all children, as it has many different important tasks in our metabolism.
What is Vitamin B9?
Vitamin B9 is the seventh vitamin of the essential vitamins in the vitamin-b-complex, which we have to get through our nutrition.
It is water-soluble, heat and light-sensitive. It is also known as folic acid. Some more unusual names for vitamin B9 are vitamin M and sometimes you will even find vitamin B11 as a name for it.
There are actually two forms of vitamin B9. Folic acid, which is the most used designation for vitamin B9, is actually the synthetic (industrial) form of it and is not usable in the human body. The usable and active form is called folate, which will be converted in the liver into the coenzyme tetrahydrofolic acid.
What is the demand of Vitamin B9?
Depending on the age, health and lifestyle the daily demand for an average and healthy adult for the essential vitamin B9 is
400 – 500 micrograms (μg) per day.
Where can you get Vitamin B9 from (Top foods)?
Here are the Top foods, which are rich in vitamin B9:
1. Yeast (up to 2.500 μg/100g)
2. Bran (up to 600 μg/100g)
3. Pulses (up to 350 μg/100g)
4. Cale, broccoli and cauliflower (up to 200 μg/100g)
5. Green leafy vegetables, herbs and seeds (up to 50-100 μg/100g)
Tip: Brewers yeast is an overall good source of the vitamins in vitamin B complex, which includes vitamin B9 (up to
What are the functions and benefits of Vitamin B9?
Now we will have a closer look on the other important functions of vitamin B9, which go beyond its crucial function in the embryo development and growth.
Cell division and Cellformation
Thereof we can derive that vitamin B9 is not only important in the cell division and cell formation in the development of embryos, but also for every other human being, may it be a boy, a girl, a men or a woman.
The foundation of the tasks of vitamin B9 in the cell metabolism lays in the synthesis and the repair of the DNA (genetic information) and the RNA (transcription of genetic information into proteins).
Other essential tasks of vitamin B9 can be found in the protein metabolism. For example the conversion of glycine into serine, which are non-essential amino acids and can be found in nearly all proteins. Moreover, vitamin B9 plays a role in the histidine metabolism, which works as blood and muscle pigments. Lastly, it supports the choline synthesis, which is necessary to build cell membranes and is needed for muscle relaxation.
Finally, folate comes in place when you want to maintain a good heart health. And that is because folate has the ability to break down the potentially toxic amino acid homocysteine, which has the characteristic to damage blood vessels. As a result, a high blood pressure can occur, which has a negative effect on the power of our heart.
What deficiency symptoms of Vitamin B9 exist?
A hypovitaminosis of vitamin B9 is normally seldom, as it takes a long time of a lack to take effect. Some risk groups are people who have gut disorders or liver diseases, pregnant women or women who are taking the pill, children or people abusing drugs. The symptoms can be as followed:
- neural tube defects of the embryo
- early birth
- heart insufficiency
- growth disorders for children
What overdose symptoms of Vitamin B9 exist?
A hypervitaminosis of vitamin B9 is possible through supplementation but is usually not critical as surplus vitamin B9 is excreted through the urine. A not wanted side effect of a high level of vitamin B9 is the ability to obscure vitamin B12 deficiencies. So it is recommended to stay under the intake of max. 1 mg per day.
What else may you have to consider about Vitamin B9?
As described in the second part of this blog post vitamin B9 or folate is sometimes named as vitamin M or vitamin B11, which are unusual designations for vitamin B9.
Value in our body
In the gut, folate is absorbed through two channels, the proton bound folate transporter and the mitochondrial folate transporter.
Our body can store up to 12-15 mg of folate, which lasts for about 3-4 months.
Antagonists and Advice
Vitamin B12 is necessary for a good formation of vitamin B9, as it is able to bring it back from the non-bioactive form folic acid into the bioactive form tetrahydrofolate.
There are effective bioactive forms of folate on the market as a supplementation.
It is recommended to take a vitamin B9 supplementation in the morning, as it can be absorbed better.
Discovery and Use
Vitamin B9 was discovered in 1941, as it was possible to produce it synthetically.
The word folate comes from the Latin word “folium”, which means leaf, as it was first found in green leafs.
Vitamin B9, also called folate, is an important essential vitamin for a proper function in the enzyme metabolism. Probably its most crucial function is its ability to promote cell division and formation, which is predominantly essential in the development and growth of an embryo. Yeast, seeds, pulses, kale and green leafs are good sources for your daily amount of vitamin B9.
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