Vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid, is one of the B-complex or B vitamins. B-complex helps the body convert food into energy, which is used to produce energy. These B vitamins also help the body use fats and protein. These vitamins are for keeping skin, hair, eyes, and liver healthy. They also help the nervous system function properly.
Vitamin B9 is a water-soluble. It is carried through the bloodstream and excreted through urine. The human body does not store folic acid for a long time. Thus, we have to consume it every day in order to make sure we have it adequately. Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 which is found in supplements and fortified foods, where as folate occurs naturally in foods.
The main function of Folic acid in the human body includes:
- It plays a crucial role in proper brain functioning.
- It also plays a key role in mental and emotional health.
- It synthesizes DNA, RNA and to repair.
- It is important in aiding rapid cell division and growth, such as in infancy and pregnancy. Children and adults both require folic acid to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia.
- It is also responsible for creating iron in hemoglobin which is crucial for oxygen transport.
This vitamin is found in leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, legumes such as dried or fresh beans, peas and lentils, egg yolks, baker’s yeast, fortified grain products (pasta, cereal, bread), sunflower seeds, liver and liver products contain high amounts of folate, kidney and many more.
People who do not take this vitamin adequately may have diarrhea, heartburn and constipation etc. Folic acid is very important in the development of the nervous system of a developing fetus.