What Folic Acid is and Why it is Important
Folic Acid is also known as Vitamin B9. It like other B vitamins is water soluble, which means it does not need fat to be assimilated into the body. In addition, whatever the body doesn’t use will be discarded as a waste product. This means that each day people need to consume proper amounts of this vitamin through their diets.
Function of B9 the Body
B9 is needed to accomplish muscle mass. Without it, the body cannot access the amino acids from proteins that supply the necessary elements for muscles to grow. This is one of the reasons that bodybuilders need to consume the proper amount of it daily.
Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid (B9) join forces to produce hemoglobin in the blood. This helps the body to form new cells from the amino acids mentioned above. B9 also makes the body more efficient at supplying oxygen to its various parts. This can help the bodybuilder increase his performance.
B9 has been proven to enhance brain functioning. Dutch scientists found supplementation of B9 improved memory and processing speed. These two functions can become impaired as we age.
Pregnant women should have an adequate intake of B9 to prevent serious birth defects in their baby’s spine and brain. This fact has long been known. Obstetricians have prescribed prenatal vitamins containing B9 for many years.
Food Sources of Vitamin B9
Many food sources are available to provide people with B9. The following list shows you the top ones.
- Baker’s yeast
- Egg yolk
- Brussel sprouts
- Potatoes preferably baked with the skins still on them
- Fortified whole wheat bread
- Liver (except pregnant women should avoid liver to prevent consuming too much vitamin A for the baby)
- Sunflower seeds
Side effects of a Deficiency of B9 in the Body
The main side effects of a deficiency of Vitamin B9 are:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Side Effects of too much B9 in the Body
Too much of Folic Acid in the system can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, problems sleeping, confusion, rash, nausea, changes in behavior and more. Doses of 800 to 1200 micrograms on a daily basis could heighten the risk for heart attack in those with heart trouble.
Daily Recommendation for the Intake of Folic Acid
The recommendation for the intake of B9 varies according to someone’s age. Ages 1 to 3 years should have 150 micrograms each day, 4 to 8 years needs 200 micrograms, 9 to 13 years need 300 and over 14 years needs 400 micrograms unless pregnant than 600 micrograms is the recommendation. Lactating women need 500 micrograms of B9 per day.
It is easy to see how Folic Acid benefits the body by the information above, but please note the ideal way to get this nutrient is through food. Supplementation can be used along with a diet rich in B9 when necessary, but should never replace the food containing it.