When to Take a Vitamin B9 Supplement

Vitamin B9, more usually known as folic acid or folate, is one of the most important vitamin you need to include in your diet. Folate is essential to carry out all processes of cell metabolism and division. It also helps to breakdown carbohydrates, fat and proteins into energy and ensures faithful synthesis of your DNA and RNA.

Folate demand is high wherever cell growth and reproduction occur rapidly. Sufficient amounts of folate must be present for normal red blood cell production and proper blood oxygenation. Folate deficiency can also lead to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, loss of bone mass and other developmental disorders.

Because folate is widely available in food, Vitamin B9 deficiency is not a usual occurrence for the general population. Having a balanced diet that includes all food groups is the best way to prevent folate deficiency.

Folate is especially rich in foods like dark green vegetables, beans and legumes, citrus fruits and fortified juices and cereals. Frequent incorporation of these foods in your meal plans saves you the need to take extra supplementation.

Take Folate Supplements Before, During and After Pregnancy

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of folate is 400 milligrams for most adults except in special situations when the body’s demand for folate increases. The most notable example of this is pregnancy. An additional 400 milligrams of folate are required for women from the planning stage of pregnancy to the end of lactation.

Cell reproduction is the fastest in a developing fetus. The baby’s neural tube takes shape within the first 28 days of pregnancy, long before any sign shows up. Sufficient folate must be provided during this period to ensure the proper development of your baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord and prevent irreversible neural damage and birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.

This is why it’s a good idea to start taking extra folate before conception. An additional noteworthy point is that men who are planning for fatherhood can also benefit from folate supplementation. Studies have shown that extra folate can increase male fertility and reduce chromosomal defects in sperms.

Folate supplementation needs to continue throughout pregnancy, the lack of which significantly heightens your chance of preterm labor and abnormal fetal development. Babies born to mothers who do not take extra folate during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from low birth weight, cleft lips, congenital heart and limb defects and mental retardation. Extra folate is also necessary for nursing mothers. Folate is delivered to your newborn through breast milk. Insufficient folate provision can stunt a baby’s growth and increase the potential for childhood leukemia.

Extra Folate Accelerates Recovery after Blood Loss

The other instance for additional folate requirement is when you need to replenish your blood. Extra folate promotes red blood cell production and increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of your blood.

This is why drinking a glass of orange juice after you give blood can reduce possible side effects like dizziness and fainting. You should take a supplementary dose of folate to help speed up your recovery after blood donation, surgery or any other case of severe blood loss.

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The Benefits of Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 is also known as folic acid, and it belongs to the vitamin B complex family. It is very important for the facilitation of metabolic processes in the human body.

Why we need Vitamin B9

It helps in the synthesis of nucleic acids as well as the production of heme, which is a pigmented component of hemoglobin, the iron-carrying protein molecule that transports oxygen in red blood cells. Other than performing these essential functions of the human body, vitamin B9 also brings a wide range of other health benefits.

Preventing Stroke and Heart Disease

It has been proven that folic acid is effective in lowering homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is a form of amino acid that is present in certain meats, and it can cause damage to arterial walls, which will in turn lead to the occurrence of atherosclerosis. This condition is known to cause diseases such as stroke and heart diseases.

Protection Against Lung Cancer

Research has shown that high levels of vitamin B9 can help to prevent lung cancer. An increase in the consumption of vitamin B9 can control the growth of precancerous bronchial cells in people who smoke. Smoking can deplete the supply of vitamins in the body, and low vitamin B9 levels can contribute to the development of lung cancer in smokers as well as ordinary people.

Preventing Cervix and Colon Cancer in Women

According to studies, vitamin B9 can improve symptoms of ulcerative colitis, and women who have high levels of vitamin B9 are 60% less susceptible to colon cancer. However, men’s risk of contracting colon cancer remains the same despite increased intake of vitamin B9, and researchers have yet to find out the reason for this.

Lowering Risk of Premature Birth and Birth Defects

Increased consumption of vitamin B9 will help pregnant women prevent premature birth and neural tube defects in their babies. Efficient development of the neural tube will contribute to the formation of a baby’s healthy spinal cord and brain development. It is also known that deficiency of vitamin B9 in pregnant women can also lead to low birth weight.

In most cases, consuming vitamin B9 will not lead to an overdose. However, large quantities of the vitamin may result in certain side effects, such as nausea, loss of appetite and abdominal bloating. Such symptoms are usually caused by consumption of over 1,500 micrograms of vitamin B9 a day. Prolonged use of large quantities of vitamin B9 can also contribute to the development of folacin crystals in the kidney, which may lead to serious neurological problems. Those who are planning to consume large amounts of the vitamin should seek advice from a physician before they do so.

Vitamin B9 Deficiency

Deficiency in vitamin B9 symptoms includes loss of appetite, nausea, anemia, diarrhea, weakness, weight loss, malnutrition, headache, mood swing, insomnia, breathing difficulty, heart palpitations, paranoia and memory problems.

If no measures are taken to counter vitamin B9 deficiency, a condition called megaloblastic anemia may develop. Sufficient intake of vitamin B9 will help to prevent these symptoms.

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Vitamin B9 or Folic acid deficiency

Vitamin B9 also is known as folate when it occurs in foods or as folic acid when present in supplements or added to foods.

Vitamin B9 plays important role in cell growth, division, amino acid metabolism, enzyme reactions, and production of RNA, DNA, and red blood cells; prevents birth defects and heart disease.

Folate may also play a role in cancer and birth defects prevention; used for heart health (lowers homocysteine).

Folic acid deficiency symptoms

Shortage of folic acid is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies, especially among women.

Folic acid deficiency affects the growth and repair of your body’s tissues. The tissues that have fastest rate of cell replacement are the first ones to be affected. Blood and digestive tract are where the signs of deficiency will most likely first appear. People deficient in folic acid have some of these symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Malnutrition from poor nutrient absorption
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Sore tongue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Heart palpitations

At risk of folate deficiencies are pregnant and breastfeeding women; alcoholics; smokers; people over age 65.

Mild deficiency is likely for people who eat only institutional food. For example, nursing home residents. That’s because the folic acid in food is easily destroyed by processing, overcooking, or reheating.

Natural sources of Vitamin B9 (folate)

Dark-green leafy vegetables, liver, orange juice, beans, avocados, beets. Other sources include fruit and enriched grains.

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Deficiency of vitamins B complex

There are eight water soluble vitamins in vitamin B group and four related substances, each of which plays an important role: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), cyanocobalamin (B12) pantothenic acid and biotin.

We need vitamins of B complex for support and increase the rate of metabolism; maintain healthy skin and muscle tone; enhance immune and nervous system function; promote cell growth and division—including that of the red blood cells that help prevent anemia; reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal forms of cancer

When you have plenty of all the vitamin B’s in your body, they work together to keep your body running efficiently, producing the energy.
If you’re low on any one B vitamin, the others can’t do their jobs.

Causes of Vitamin B deficiency

The B vitamins work so closely together that it is hard to tell which individual B vitamin is missing when a deficiency occurs.

Millions of people suffer from a deficiency of vitamin B for several reasons, major among which are:

  • Stress
  • Poor immune function.
  • Chronic digestive problems.
  • Alcohol
    As alcohol blocks ability to absorb B vitamins
  • Smoking
    Tobacco smoke decreases absorption of B vitamins across the board.
  • Oral contraception reduces levels of vitamin B.
  • Vegetarians and vegans
    who don’t eat any animal foods such as milk or eggs
  • Toxins and  poisons in the environment and personal care products deplete vitamin B complex

Vitamin B deficiency symptoms

Symptoms sited below can be link with vitamin B deficiency:

  • mental problems
  • heart palpitation
  • heart arrythmia
  • fibrillation
  • indigestion
  • chronic fatigue
  • chronic exhaustion
  • vague fears
  • fear that something dreadful is about to happen,nervousness
  • ADD (attention deficiency), inability to concentrate, irritability
  • feeling of uneasiness
  • inomnia
  • restlessness
  • tingling in hands
  • tingling fingers and toes
  • rashes
  • crying spells, inability to cope

and so much more.

How to avoid vitamin B deficiency

The best way to avoid a deficiency of B vitamins is to eat a varied diet of fresh fruit, an abundance of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and other food as desired. Some of these B vitamins can also be made by friendly bacteria in a healthy colon and absorbed into circulation.

Natural sources B vitamins are unprocessed foods.
Processing, as with sugar and white flour, tends to significantly reduce B vitamin content.
B vitamins are particularly concentrated in meat and meat products such as liver, turkey, and tuna.
Other good sources for B vitamins are potatoes, bananas, lentils, chile peppers, tempeh, beans, nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast, and molasses.


Several studies have shown that apart from their hormonal effect the hormones in birth control pills affect metabolic and nutritional factors.
Women who use contraceptives may need in nutritional supplementation to adjust for some of the biochemical alterations caused by the oral contraception pills.
living-multiFor example women on BCPs have a higher requirement for folate, and this may be especially true for women who have had cervical dysplasia (precancerous abnormal cells of the cervix). The frequent ingestion of the steroids found in contraceptive pills has been found to decrease levels of riboflavin, pyridoxine, vitamin B12, ascorbic acid, and zinc.
Hormones can also affect breast tenderness, increase risk of blood clots, and induce an array of side effects in some women, and they are metabolized in the liver.
Providing proper nutritional support and enhancing hormonal metabolism and detoxification pathways may optimize of using hormonal contraception.
Long periods of oral contraceptive using may occur of riboflavin deficiency.
It has been noticed that the majority of women on oral contraception for longer than six months manifest abnormal tryptophan metabolism. Vitamin B6 can normalize tryptophan metabolism.
Although not consistent, some research has shown that oral contraception disturb folate metabolism.
Anemia, the gastrointestinal and genital tracts, bone and heart health, and mental function are all affected by folic acid deficiencies. For this reason, folate is an important nutrient to supplement for women taking the pill. Oral contraception users have also been found to have low levels of vitamin B12.

Reduced levels of ascorbic acid have also been observed in those who take oral contraceptives.
It is possible that the steroids of oral contraceptives increase the breakdown of ascorbic acid.
Some research in animals has shown that oral contraceptives reduce lower blood levels of vitamin E.
Most investigations have shown a reduction in plasma zinc levels following the administration of oral contraceptive pills.
Zinc is essential to good health and is involved in many enzyme and body functions. Immune function; wound healing; the nervous system; maintenance of vision, taste, and smell; and skin health are dependent on adequate levels of zinc.
Zinc competes with copper for absorption, therefore adding a small amount of copper is also suggested to avoid any problems.
Borage seed oil is high in gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is important in maintaining pain-free breasts. GLA decreases abnormal sensitivity of breast tissue to normal hormone levels.
Oral contraceptives can increase the risk of blood clots, although this risk has been considerably reduced since the lower-dose pills have become the norm.
However, these concerns still deserve our attention. Bromelain has a very favorable effect on inflammation of a vein.one-day-women
Garlic preparations have been shown to promote fibrinolysis, which can offer benefit in prevention of strokes and other clotting events.
Finally, women taking hormonal contraceptives can experience changes in vaginal pH, which can lead to changes in the balance of organisms in the vagina.
Lactobacillus species are fundamental to maintaining a healthy ecological vaginal environment, which helps to prevent yeast and vaginal infections.
It may be possible to favorably alter this vaginal ecology by taking lactobacillus in the form of a nutritional supplement.
Additional considerations may include liver support to aid in the metabolism of the steroids.
There are many options here, including a lipotropic supplement and herbs such as dandelion root, burdock root, and milk thistle.

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