Vitamin B9, folate or folic acid, is a prized member of the B vitamins family. Folic acid is essential for good health, boasting numerous rather incredible properties and health benefits. For instance, it plays a key role in cell repair, DNA synthesis, amino acids metabolism and supports leukocytes and erythrocytes production. Even more, vitamin B9 is believed to support the body’s natural disease prevention mechanism, ensuring a better protection against cancer, heart disease and obesity.
In addition to this, the nutrient has been shown to contribute immensely to fetal health and proper development during pregnancy. Folic acid is essential for a normal fetal development. Deficiencies during pregnancy may lead to gaps in the spinal cord which, in turn, cause brain injury, paralysis and even fetal death in utero. Any damage to the brain, spinal cord or spine of an unborn or newborn baby falls into the category of neural tube defects. There is no treatment for any of these conditions, which is why prevention is pivotal.
Very important: all expecting mothers should consider supplementing their diet with vitamin B9 in the form of folic acid which, according to research, can protect against neural tube defects of the brain, spine and spinal cord in babies. Vitamin B12 has also been shown to play an important part in delivering a healthy baby. Your healthcare provider will most likely recommend a multivitamin during pregnancy, containing most if not all essential vitamins and minerals in amounts suited to the growing demands of a pregnancy.
Types of vitamin B9
- Folate, the natural form of vitamin B9, found in food
- Folic acid, the synthetic form of vitamin B9 from dietary supplements
What is vitamin B9 good for?
Vitamin B9 is also highly recommended before conception as it has been shown to improve fertility and increase one’s chances of getting pregnant. So know that vitamin B9 in the form of folate or folic acid is one of the first and most important prenatal vitamins to consider for supplementation as well as a source of numerous other health benefits. For instance, it supports red blood cell production and contribute to better oxygenation of muscles, increased vitality and more elevated energy levels as a result.
It would appear that vitamin B9 stimulates the body to produce both erythrocytes and leukocytes (red blood cells and white blood cells). This ensures both oxygen delivery to tissues and muscles as well as a proper defense against bacteria and viruses. Both vitamin B12 and iron contribute to red blood cell production (New insights into erythropoiesis: the roles of folate, vitamin B12, and iron).
Several studies suggest that vitamin B9 may be useful against depression. Even more, the nutrient has been shown to help eliminated homocysteine from the blood. High levels of blood homocysteine are shown to cause blood clots, stroke, heart attack, vascular inflammation, artery damage, preeclampsia and miscarriages. A sufficient intake of the vitamin can represent an excellent prevention method and contribute to cardiovascular health.
Moreover, promising research suggests a good intake of vitamin B9 can slow down the aging process and prevent signs of premature aging. Of course, good overall dietary and lifestyle habits are most likely to contribute to a longer, healthier and happier life. Last but not least, vitamin B9 supports brain health and brain activity. See what are the 10 best, most common sources of folate in my article on Vitamin B9: folic acid.
List of benefits of vitamin B9
If you are not still convinced, here is a list of some of the most notable benefits of vitamin B9:
- Supports red blood cell production and helps prevent anemia and symptoms.
- Has a tonic, revitalizing effect and combats muscle weakness, lethargy and pallor.
- Prevents cardiovascular disease and preeclampsia by reducing homocysteine levels in the blood.
- Stimulates cell regeneration, especially the regeneration of skin cells.
- Supports nervous system activity and brain function.
- Play a role in reducing the risks of dementia, Alzheimer’s included.
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis and related bone fractures.
- Potential benefits for depression due to its role in nervous system support.
- Antiaging benefits, plays a part in slowing down the aging process.
- Supports normal growth and development of babies in the womb, helping prevent neural tube defects.
- Reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke, advancing cardiovascular health.
As you can see, vitamin B9 in the form or folate or folic acid boasts numerous wonderful health benefits. A balanced and varied diet should provide an adequate intake but, if you feel your body has higher demands, you can always take supplements so you can prevent any possible deficiencies. My advice is to consult with your doctor first and, together, work out a strategy fit for your nutritional requirements.
However, the basis of your health should be your diet. Eat healthy, fresh, natural. Don’t overcook what doesn’t need to be overcooked. Enjoy variety in your eating and, most important, learn to enjoy your food. Make eating a savory experience and learn which foods are the richest in nutrients. Remember: knowledge is power, especially when it comes to healthy eating.