- What Is Vitamin B9?
- Functions Of Vitamin B9
- Vitamin B9 Deficiency
- Who Is At Risk Of Vitamin B9 Deficiency
- Best Food Sources Of Vitamin B9
What Is Vitamin B9?:
Vitamin B9 or Folate is one of the 8 water soluble B vitamins, all of which play an essential role in glucose metabolism. Folate and Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) are the only two B vitamins that can be stored in the body. The liver can store on average about 3-4 months worth of B9 compared to 3-4 years of Vitamin B12.
There are two main forms of Vitamin B9, folate & folic acid. Folic acid is the oxidized form of Vitamin B9, basically meaning it has one less hydrogen compared to Folate. Folic acid is the synthetically produced version of vitamin B9 that is commonly found in many multivitamins and fortified foods. Compared to folate, folic acid generally has a much higher rate of absorption of about 85% compared to about 50% in folate found in food. Although the rate of folate absorption can vary widely depending on the food.
Functions Of Vitamin B9:
- Synthesis of purines DNA & RNA - Vitamin B9 is an essential component, not only in the production of DNA & RNA, but also in the stability of DNA, epigenetic expression and cellular replication. This is largely as a result of folate's role in the production of SAM-E, the body's primary methyl donor. SAM-E through its methylation properties regulates gene expression (which genes get turned on and off).
- Production of Hemoglobin & proper red blood cells synthesis - Folate & Vitamin B12 are necessary components in the production of red blood cells, largely due to their other role in DNA synthesis. Without adequate B9 or B12 erythropoiesis, the synthesis of red blood cells, cannot occur properly and results in a reduced quantity of red blood cells and often megaloblastic blood cells, which are significantly too big to function properly.
- Necessary to breakdown homocysteine - Homocysteine is a protein breakdown product that can accumulate in the bloodstream leading to elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and if in excess heart disease or strokes. Folate is an essential piece required to breakdown homocysteine into its end-product, SAM-E.
- Glycine Synthesis - Folate plays an essential role in the conversion of the amino acid serine into glycine. Glycine is a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning it isn't technically necessary to consume because we can produce it, but it is extremely important for the body to have enough glycine to function properly
Vitamin B9 Deficiency:
Vitamin B9 deficiencies are generally rare because vitamin B9 is found in a large assortment of foods naturally in addition to fortified foods. Additionally, unlike the other B vitamins because folate can be stored in the liver it makes deficiencies less likely. That being said, folate deficiencies can result in a number of health issues:
- Birth Defect like neural tube defects & spina bifida
- Heart Disease
- Cancer including:
- Colon cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Dementia & reduced cognitive function
- Age-related Macular Degeneration
- Age-related Hearing Loss
- Folate-Deficiency Anemia or Megaoblastic Anemia
Read More: The Importance Of Micronutrients
Who’s At Risk of Vitamin B9 Defiency?:
There are a number of conditions that can place you at a higher risk of Vitamin B9 deficiency:
- Pregnant women
- People with malabsorption disorders like Celiac or Chrones
- Those with MTHFR
Read More: Nutrition 101 | Why Do We Eat?
Best Food Sources Of Vitamin B9:
- Organ meats, particularly liver
- Muscle meats from red meat, pork & poultry
- Citrus fruits, melons & berries
- Whole grains & fortified grains
Looking for a B-complex that contains every B vitamin? Look no further than Daily B! This supplement provides your body with 100% of your daily needs of each B vitamin, so you can stay healthy and energized all day long. With Daily B, you'll never have to worry about being deficient in any of the essential B vitamins again.
My goal in writing this article, as always, is to provide you with logically-based principles that you can use to form your own conclusions regarding any information you may come across within this subject. I really hope you found this article interesting and if you have anything to add to this article, or any comments or criticism, feel free to reach out to me on our facebook groups or on Instagram @tylerwoodward_fit. And please feel free to share this article with anyone that might be interested!
Thanks for reading!
Until next time… be good