B9, Folic Acid Daily Requirements
Unlike most vitamins, Vitamin B9 is more commonly known by a chemical name, Folic acid. However, the natural form of Vitamin B9 is not actually Folic Acid. Folic acid is a man-made chemical that is converted inside the body into the naturally occurring form, Folate. Once inside the body, both chemicals provide the same functionality. The recommended amount of Vitamin B9 needed is 400mcg per day for both men and women. For women who are pregnant or have the possibility of becoming pregnant, the recommended amount is 600mcg per day. A very important piece of information regarding Folic acid is that the birth defects that occur because of a Vitamin B9 deficiency happen very early in pregnancy, often before the woman even knows she is pregnant. It is for this reason that any woman with the possibility of becoming pregnant make sure they exceed the 400mcg per day recommended for other individuals.
Food Sources Rich in Vitamin B9 include green vegetables
Vitamin B9, in its´ natural form of Folate, is found in a variety of food sources. The highest concentration of Folate is found in dark green, leafy vegetables like Romaine lettuce and spinach. Many other healthy foods contain high amounts of Vitamin B9 like bananas, oranges, tomatoes and liver. Because these food sources also contain a large number of other nutrients in high amounts, they should always be a major part of weekly meal plans.
Enriched Cereals are a Good Source of Folic Acid
Folic acid is the synthetic form of Vitamin B9 and is commonly used to enrich stable gain foods such as bread, pasta and cereals. Folic acid is also the form of Vitamin B9 used in daily vitamins and other supplements. Once in the body, man-made Folic acid is used exactly the same way as Folate.
Vitamin B9 Deficiency and Pregnancy
The most important and dangerous aspect of a Vitamin B9 deficiency is in regards to pregnancy. Very early in pregnancy, a fetus has a risk of developing a condition called Spina Bifida, which occurs when the spinal column does not close properly in early pregnancy. Vitamin B9 also is important for the prevention of low-birth weight babies, mental retardation, and premature delivery. In adults, Vitamin B9 deficiency can lead to depression, poor mental functioning as well as cancer and heart disease.
Summary of information about Vitamin B9 Folic Acid Food Sources
There are two forms of Vitamin B9, the synthetic, or man-made form is called Folic acid and is used to enrich basic foods like bread, cereal and pasta. The natural form of Vitamin B9 is called Folate, and is found mainly in dark green vegetables, but also in fruits such as bananas, oranges and tomatoes. The recommended amount is 400mcg per day for adults and 600mcg per day for pregnant women or women who may become pregnant.