Vitamin B9 is a water-soluble vitamin, also known as Vitamin M or folic acid. This vitamin is partly synthesised by the body, but in insufficient quantities, and must therefore be taken every day.
Principal natural sources of Vitamin B9
Animal sources: In liver (of beef and chicken), egg yolks, meat (beef and veal), milk and cheese.
Plant sources: Dark green vegetables (spinach, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, green beans, avocado, lettuce, lamb's lettuce, fennel and cucumber), leguminous vegetables (lentils, chickpeas, soya and grain beans), yeast (brewer's yeast), whole cereals, other vegetables (asparagus, mushrooms, beet, carrots, potatoes and endive), fruit (bananas, oranges and raspberries) and dry fruit (nuts).
Properties of Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9 contributes to proper immune system function, helps reduce fatigue, and also helps with normal psychological functions (memory, reasoning and concentration). Folates help with growth of maternal tissue during pregnancy. Vitamin B9 also plays a role in the process of cell division and contributes to good blood formation.
Recommended Daily Intake
The recommended daily intake varies between 30 and 800 mcg daily depending on the population; the average recommended intake has been set at 200 mcg daily.
Requirements increase during pregnancy and lactation, and intake must not be less than 400 mcg daily. Women should generally take supplements when wishing to become pregnant.
Deficits can also occur in:
- Premature babies, children and teenagers; in fact throughout growth.
- Elderly people.
- Those without a varied and balanced diet.