Folic acid or Vitamin B9 (Folate in the natural form), is a water-soluble vitamin belonging to the B vitamins that is taken exclusively through diet and is essential for pregnant women as it tends to protect and promote the development of the embryo.
Vitamin B9 is also essential for the synthesis of proteins and DNA as well as for the formation of hemoglobin. Works in synergy with vitamin B12 and B6 where it plays a role in the metabolism and in the control of the values of homocysteine (sulphured amino acid, of which a high concentration in the blood is considered a cardiovascular risk factor).
Its correct presence in the body therefore helps to protect against the risk of developing heart disease.
In which foods is vitamin B9 present
Vitamin B9, or folic acid, is mainly found in some foods such as green leafy vegetables (lettuce, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts), dried fruit (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts), especially whole grain and legumes. in some fruits like oranges, kiwis, lemons, strawberries, avocados. Among the foods of animal origin there are eggs, liver, salmon, milk and derivatives.
Remember that fruits and vegetables should be eaten preferably raw because cooking degrades most of the folate present in foods.
What is the daily requirement of vitamin B9
The daily requirement of Ac.Folico is about 200 mcg. The amount is doubled (400mcg) during pregnancy, since the fetus uses the maternal reserves, and during breastfeeding.
Vitamin B9 deficiency
Vitamin B9 deficiency, or folic acid, can derive from incorrect lifestyles such as alcohol abuse, smoking, as well as the onset of certain diseases such as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and celiac disease that causes a reduced production of red blood cells in the blood, with consequent onset of megaloblastic anemia.
Vitamin B9 deficiency or folic acid in pregnant women can have negative effects on the proper development of the fetal nervous system. In some cases a high folic acid deficiency can cause the birth of premature babies and with spina bifida, which is a condition for which fetal development does not occur, the correct closure of the neural tube.
There are also drugs (antacids, some drugs used to lower blood cholesterol levels, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and some diuretics) that lower the levels of folic acid in the body, so supplementation may be necessary.
Folic acid can also interact with other drugs (antiepileptic, chemotherapeutic) modifying its absorption and therefore its effects.