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Vitamin B9

Brain and blood warrior

17492017_xlVitamin B9, also known as folic acid, works like the other B vitamins in that it helps our bodies convert food into fuel, giving us energy to go about our daily lives. B vitamins are also important for healthy skin, hair, and eyes.

Furthermore, vitamin B9 is uniquely important for the healthy development of foetuses due to its pivotal role in reducing the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), a common form of birth defects that affect the brain and spine. Unfortunately, there is no cure for NTDs. In an attempt to contain these defects, the United Kingdom government is contemplating of getting manufacturers to add folic acid to bread supplies.

Prevention of birth defects. Vitamin B9 is vital in rapid growth phases, such as pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence. Pregnant women should consume enough folic acid – at least 600mcg a day, as recommended by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) – to lower the risks of brain defects at birth. Since the 1990s, research has repeatedly shown that taking folic acid in early pregnancy is associated with a significant reduction – as much as 72% – in neural tube defects in unborn babies.
Proper brain function. Researchers have found that vitamin B9 enhances the antidepressant Prozac, hence helpful in suppressing depression and schizophrenia. Insufficient vitamin B9 in our body may elevate homocysteine (an amino acid) levels. Abnormally high levels of homocysteine are associated with higher risks of stroke – a form of ‘brain attack’.
Protection against cancers. Population studies have shown that folic acid in diets seem to suppress the development of cancers such as that of the colon, breast, cervix and pancreas. Some suggest that folic acid may prevent mutations leading to cancer.
Generation of red blood cells. Vitamin B9 works closely with vitamin B12 in red blood cell genesis, by ensuring adequate amounts and proper functioning of red blood cells and iron in the body.

–       Nervous system problems, e.g. mental fatigue, dementia, depression, insomnia

–       Muscular fatigue

–       Mouth-related problems, e.g. gingivitis, periodontal disease

Like the other seven B vitamins, vitamin B9 is water-soluble – this means our bodies do not store vitamin B9, and we need to consume it every day. The HPB recommends a daily intake of 400mcg for adults aged 19 and above.

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Posted by ezyhealth on Apr 8 2014. Filed under Nutrition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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