The health benefits of vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, include prevention of heart disorders, stroke, cancer, and birth defects during pregnancy. It also helps in building muscles, cell enhancement, hemoglobin formation, and provides relief from mental and emotional disorders.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid or vitamin B9 belongs to the family of water-soluble vitamins and it is essential to include this vitamin in your routine diet plan. The human body is capable of preparing this vital vitamin and it is then stored in the liver. Daily requirements of the human body utilize a part of this stored vitamin and surplus amount is released out of the body through excretion. It performs the most vital functions of the body, including everything from RBC formation to energy production.
Symptoms of Folic Acid Deficiency
The deficiency symptoms of folic acid include anemia, memory loss, restricted growth of the brain and nerves, paranoia, weakness, skin cracking, and a sore tongue. Apart from those mentioned above, a deficiency of vitamin B9 may also lead to severe problems like heart palpitations, birth defects, osteoporosis, bowel cancer, and leucopenia. Moreover, infertility and sterility are also reported in patients that are deficient in this vitamin.
Important Sources of Folic Acid
In order to make your diet rich in vitamin B9 or folic acid, you should include food items like liver and kidney. Other great sources of this vitamin are green vegetables, cheese, and mushrooms. Beans, legumes, brewer’s yeast, and cauliflower are some rich sources of folic acid. Oranges, bananas, peas, brown rice, and lentils can also be included under this list.
Health Benefits of Folic Acid
It has become very clear that vitamin B9 or folic acid is a treasure trove of benefits for the human body and is a great source of improving overall health. Here are some of the health benefits of this vitamin further elaborated to properly assess its significance:
Improves Heart Health
Folic acid is a significant tool in improving the working of the human heart. It does so by removing homocysteine, which is one of the major causes of heart attacks at early ages. It controls the cholesterol levels in the heart, thus ensuring that our cardiovascular system is saved from various disorders.
Folic acid helps in controlling the amount of homocysteine in the body and reduces the chances of a stroke. Apart from causing heart attacks, homocysteine is responsible for causing strokes, which are deadly events in the brain. Moreover, a large amount of homocysteine in the body may also lead to the weakening of bones, thus increasing the probability of frequent fractures.
Reduces Risk of Cancer
Folic acid helps reduce the occurrence of cancer in the human body. It helps eradicate the chances of cervical cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer. Thus, it is recommended by doctors to include this vitamin in sufficient amounts in your daily diet plan.
Prevents Birth Defects
Folic acid is a reliable resource for limiting defects during pregnancy and the birth of a child. It is a common situation that pregnant women maintaining a diet deficient in this vitamin are far less likely to deliver a healthy child. The birth defects caused by its deficiency include neural tube defects. Thus, vitamin B9 effectively improves the chances of giving birth to a healthy, happy child.
Folic acid is considered to be a muscle building component since it helps in the growth and maintenance of muscle tissues.
Promotes Formation of RBC
Vitamin B9 is an essential element in the formation of red blood cells (RBC). Also, this vitamin is a significant contributor to building and repairing skin cells in human body. The cells found in the small intestine lining are also fabricated from this vitamin. Folic acid is also responsible for replacing old cells with new ones, thus keeping our body fresh and new.
Folic acid is considered as a coenzyme, which effectively works in association with enzymes to perform the most desirable and important activities of the body, like the synthesis of DNA.
Increases Hemoglobin Level
Folic acid is responsible for improving the level of hemoglobin in the human body. Hemoglobin is an essential component that helps in the transfer of oxygen to cells and organ systems that need it to function properly. This can boost energy levels and increase metabolic efficiency.
Treats Mental Disorders
Folic acid is helpful in treating various mental and emotional disorders. For instance, it is useful in treating anxiety and depression, which are two of the most common mental health problems suffered by people in the modern world.