Vitamin B9 is a water soluble vitamin. Like other B vitamins, it is utilized by the body to help convert food into energy. In addition, it is involved with other important bodily functions including the synthesis of DNA and RNA.
Another very important function of vitamin B9 is that it is required by the body so it can synthesize neurotransmitters. Folic acid is synthetic vitamin B9. Folate (previously called folacin) is a term for naturally occuring vitamin B9.
Recommended vitamin B9 intake by age:
--- 1-3 years - 150 micrograms per day.
--- 4-8 years - 200 micrograms per day.
--- 9-13 years - 300 micrograms per day.
--- 14-18 years - 400 micrograms per day.
--- Adult 19+ - 400 micrograms per day.
--- Female pregnant - 600 micrograms per day.
--- Female breastfeeding - 500 micrograms per day.
A deficiency of vitamin B9 can contribute to problems like anemia, confusion, depression, diarrhea, gingivitis, impaired thinking, sore tongue. Low levels during pregnancy can lead to birth defects. Eating foods that contain vitamin B9 is a good way to ensure you are getting enough.
Foods that have a large vitamin B9 content include:
--- Peas (especially black-eyed).
--- Beef (especially liver).
--- Spinach (boiled).
--- Fortified cereals.
--- Brussels sprouts.
--- Romaine lettuce.
--- Enriched pasta.
--- Raw avocado.
--- Raw spinach.
--- White bread.
--- Wheat germ.
--- White rice.
--- Dry roasted peanuts.
If you are not getting enough vitamin B9 in your diet, vitamin B9 supplements are a good way to increase it. Taking a vitamin B complex supplement can ensure you are getting enough of eight B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12.
Unless instructed to by a qualified medical source, restrict daily intake of vitamin B9 supplements to the amounts indicated below:
--- 300 micrograms (children 1-3 years old).
--- 400 micrograms (children 4-8 years old).
--- 600 micrograms (children 9-13 years old).
--- 800 micrograms (adolescents 14-18 years old).
--- 1000 micrograms (adults 19 years of age or older).
--- 800 micrograms (14-18 year old female pregnant).
--- 1000 micrograms (19+ year old female pregnant).
--- 800 micrograms (14-18 year old female breastfeeding).
--- 1000 micrograms (19+ year old female breastfeeding).
Possible side effects of vitamin B9 supplements include:
--- Stomach pain.
--- Sleep disorders.
--- Allergic reaction.
Excess amounts of vitamin B9 may increase the progression of preneoplastic lesions. This can increase the chances of getting colorectal cancer, and perhaps other forms of cancer, in some people. It may also make anemia and impaired thinking associated with vitamin B12 deficiency worse.