Whether you call it vitamin B9 or folic acid, what is important to remember is that this compound is essential to your health. As part of the beneficial B-vitamin family, folic acid contributes to the healthy function of several important body systems.
It is important to keep levels of this vitamin up as it is vital to many functions in your body. You can always take a daily vitamin supplement, but vitamin B is easy to obtain through a balanced diet.
What Vitamin B9 Does for You
Folic acid is an essential part of your health for a reason. Well, actually many reasons. In fact, both men and women should be sure to maintain optimal B9 levels, as doing so will help:
1. Protect You From Premature Aging
Regular vitamin B9 intake contributes to younger-looking skin by preventing the formation of wrinkles. B9 also inhibits the production of stress hormones that can cause premature aging throughout the body.
This vitamin boosts metabolism and enhances nutrient absorption too, ensuring you get everything you need to feel good inside and out.
2. Heart Protection
The amino acid homocysteine is responsible for causing heart problems as well as increasing your risk for stroke. Vitamin B9 has the ability to regulate production of this amino acid in your body, keeping it restricted to heart-safe levels.
In addition to this, vitamin B9 controls the level of cholesterol deposits in and around your heart, protecting it from the formation of plaques and risk of a heart attack. (1)
3. More Red Blood Cells
Blood cell division and replication processes both involve vitamin B9. If you become deficient in this vitamin, you run the risk of developing megaloblastic anemia, where you end up with fewer red blood cells that are larger than normal.
Blood cells that are too large can interrupt circulation which can be dangerous, and vitamin B9 helps to ensure the right amount and size of red blood cells are generated.
4. Important Coenzyme
B9 is an important coenzyme and many processes in your body rely on its presence along with other enzymes. Specifically DNA synthesis requires vitamin B9 and without it, you lose the ability to repair damaged DNA. (2)
DNA methylation is a required part of the DNA development process and the role folate (vitamin B9) plays in this is essential. Without B9 and methylation, your DNA is at increased risk for mutations, and by association chronic diseases and even cancer.
5. Fights Free Radicals
Free radicals are molecules that are produced as a result of certain metabolic processes in your body. Antioxidants help to remove these before they can collect and cause oxidative damage to cells and tissues.
Oxidative damage can cause widespread damage as it is strongly linked to inflammation. Inflammation and oxidative damage can cause diseases such as diabetes, hair loss, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Along with vitamins C and E, B9 acts as a powerful antioxidant and scavenges free radicals before their presence leads to this toxicity. (3)
6. Promotes Muscle Growth
Vitamin B9 is essential for muscle growth and plays a pivotal role in building healthy muscle tissues. Athletes benefit from regular B9 supplementation because it enhances muscle strength.
Overall, this vitamin can protect your muscles from everyday wear and tear while helping speed up muscle tissue maintenance.
7. Prevents Cancer
As mentioned, vitamin B9 is critical for the formation of nucleic acids and is responsible for the stability, repair, and synthesis of DNA. These processes are all essential in controlling the expression of genes and cell differentiation. Abnormalities in cell differentiation can lead to cancer and B9 helps to reduce the risks by regulating DNA synthesis so carefully. Specifically, studies have shown that regular B9 intake can reduce your risk of colon, cervical, and lung cancers.
8. Promotes Good Mental Health
This essential vitamin is a natural option for treating mood and emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression. (4) These are the most common mental health disorders in the world and often medications do not help or make symptoms worse.
Depression has been especially linked to low levels of vitamin B9, so it is possible that with regular consumption you can reduce your chances of developing depression.
Mental health disorders are often associated with changes to the neurotransmitters in the brain. Vitamin B9 is responsible for not only making these chemical messengers, but ensuring proper development and function of the nervous system.
9. More Hemoglobin
B9 plays a role in improving the levels of hemoglobin in your blood, and this is essential for efficient delivery of oxygen throughout your body. Without substantial levels of hemoglobin, your cells do not get the oxygen they need to function.
With regular B9 intake, your body can benefit from increased energy levels and enhanced metabolic efficiency.
10. Improves Fertility
Due to the role that vitamin B9 plays in synthesizing DNA, it also helps to promote the survival and development of the fetus during pregnancy. Studies with guinea pigs found that even small amounts of time of B9 deficiency can have adverse effects on reproductive health and fertility.
Regular consumption of folic acid (vitamin B9) is essential for anyone hoping to become pregnant.
11. Prevents Birth Defects
Along with enhancing fertility, vitamin B9 helps ensure that the development of your baby is optimal. Regular consumption has been shown to limit the development of birth defects, and it has been common for women with B9 deficiencies to deliver less healthy children. (5)
How to Get Enough Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9 can be found in numerous foods and is easy to incorporate into your life with a balanced diet.
Some of the best foods for getting the vitamin B you need include:
♦ Brown Rice
♦ Collard Greens
♦ Sunflower Seeds
Final Thoughts on Folic Acid (B9)
Even though this vitamin is particularly beneficial to pregnant women, everybody benefits from keeping their B9 levels high. You also never have to worry about getting too much, because your body discards whatever it does not use.
So grab a B-vitamin supplement or some of your favorite B9-containing foods, and enjoy their numerous health benefits.