Folic Acid or Vitamin B-9: Best Food Sources – Wheat Germ (refrigerate after opening as it turns rancid easily), eggs, salmon, mushrooms, citrus fruits, and chicken.
Folic acid and folate (the anion form) are forms of the water-soluble Vitamin B9. These occur naturally in food and can also be taken as supplements. Folate gets its name from the Latin word folium (“leaf”).
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Vitamin B9, also called folate or folic acid, is one of 8 B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, also help the body use fats and protein. B complex vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help the nervous system function properly. Folic acid is the synthetic form of B9, found in supplements and fortified foods, while folate occurs naturally in foods.
All the B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that the body does not store them.
Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health. It aids in the production of DNA and RNA, the body’s genetic material, and is especially important when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, such as in infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy. Folic acid also works closely with vitamin B12 to help make red blood cells and help iron work properly in the body.
Vitamin B9 works with vitamins B6 and B12 and other nutrients to control blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine are associated with heart disease. However, researchers aren’t sure whether homocysteine is a cause of heart disease or just a marker that indicates someone may have heart disease.
It’s fairly common to have low levels of folic acid. Alcoholism, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease can cause folic acid deficiency. Also, certain medications may lower levels of folic acid in the body. Folic acid deficiency can cause poor growth, tongue inflammation, gingivitis, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, diarrhea, irritability, forgetfulness, and mental sluggishness.
The best sources of Vitamin B9
· Legumes are rich in vitamin B9. So are dried chickpeas and soybeans and lentils.
· Citrus fruits and their juices are loaded with vitamin B9.Bananas, oranges, and cantaloupes are good sources.
· Wheat bran, fortified cereals, grain products, and barley are good sources of vitamin B9.
· Non-vegetarian sources include: poultry, pork, shellfish, salmon, and tuna.
· Brewer’s yeast.
· Vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, avocados, brussels sprouts, savoy, leafy green vegetables like spinach, turnip greens, and dry beans, peas, and beets.