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Vitamin B9 Or Folic Acid - Is This The Only Needed By Women?

Dec 8, 2007
Vitamin B9, also commonly referred to as Folic Acid is a member of the B-Complex family and is a water soluble vitamin. Since this vitamin is easily broken down during the food preparation process and easily eliminated through the urine, it should be constantly replenished.

Like most other B-complex vitamins , Folic Acid also helps to metabolize fats, proteins and carbohydrates so that they can be converted into energy that the body can use.

Vitamin B9 helps in the production of new red blood cells as well as DNA and other nucleic acids. It even helps to fight against the heart disease causing amino acids called 'Homocysteine'.
Folic Acid is also responsible for the production of Heme, the pigmented part of the red blood cells that carry iron.

Folic Acid is also known to fight against the onset of cervical cancer and aid in the digestive process. It plays a significant role in repairing damaged tissues and is also involved in the development of Serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, sleep and ones appetite.

For women who are planning to conceive they must consume adequate amounts of Folic acid as it helps to protect the growing fetus from dangerous conditions such as spinal bifida. Four to six weeks following conception, the neural tube begins to form in the developing fetus.

This tube eventually grows to become the spine, spinal cord, skull and brain. The presence of Folic acid ensures the closure of the neural tube so that amniotic fluid doesn't seep into the tube's development. Failure to close the tube can make the fetus vulnerable to birth defects such as anencephaly or spinal bifida.

Some excellent sources of Vitamin B9 are green leafy vegetables like spinach and asparagus. Nuts, beans, poultry, pork, whole grains, organ meats including liver and kidney as well as citrus fruits and juices also are good sources of folic acid.

Although there is no real danger if one consumes excess quantities of Vitamin B9, care should be taken to have it in moderation. The daily recommended intake of Folic acid is around 300 micrograms for women and about 330 micrograms for men. Pregnant mothers, especially those in their early stages of pregnancy and women who are attempting to conceive should increase their dosage to about 400 micrograms a day.

Women who consume excessive alcohol, pregnant women, the elderly and women on the birth control pill are more likely to suffer from a Vitamin B9 deficiency.

Symptoms of a Vitamin B9 deficiency can include apathy, shortness of breath, depression, dizziness and anemia. In some cases problems with memory and imparied brain and nerve function can also result.
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