Vitamin B9

Our vitamin B9 or folic acid is present in the form of folate in food and is vital for the body to function. Dose: 600 µg (0.6 mg) per day

Scientific evidence

A shortage of vitamin B9 is sometimes seen in cases of alcoholism, Crohn's disease (chronic disease of the intestines) or coeliac disease, or while taking certain medications (anti-infective or cancer drugs). It causes symptoms such as muscle cramps, fatigue, headaches and anaemia. There are drug interactions with folates, so they should only be taken following medical advice.

The contraceptive pill depletes folic acid. Women wanting to get pregnant are therefore recommended to stop taking their contraception at least six months before conception and to take a folic acid supplement to guarantee a sufficient quantity in the initial stages of foetal development.

The daily recommended dose for women is 300 µg of folates.

It is recommended that pregnant women take a supplement of 400 µg of folates/day. Women of reproductive age wanting to get pregnant are also advised to take a folic acid supplement (400 µg of folates/day) at least four weeks before conception and up to eight weeks afterwards. This is to prevent a folate deficiency that may cause deformities in the nervous system of the foetus (spina bifida - a defect in the closure of the spine - or a lack of brain development). Vitamin B9 has no side effects at the usual doses. The concomitant consumption of green tea may reduce its activity.

Good for

Production of genetic material, pregnancy, breast-feeding

Found in

Rocket, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, oranges, liver, dried vegetables and brewer's yeast.

Benefits

Vitamin B9 is a particularly important water-soluble vitamin as it is linked to the structure of DNA (genetic heritage).

It helps:

  • with the growth of maternal tissues during pregnancy
  • with the normal metabolism of amino acids
  • with the formation of blood cells
  • with homocysteine metabolism
  • with mental functions
  • with the normal functioning of the immune system
  • to reduce fatigue
  • with cell division
  • to prevent certain birth deformities (if at least 400 µg of folic acid per daily serving)

Science in numbers

Alternative name

Folate or acide folique

Number of studies

53

Discovered in

1931