Vitamin B9 (aka: folate, folicin, folic-acid) is a water-soluble B vitamin with many rich natural sources. Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 found in fortified foods and supplements.
What is it used for?:
It is vital for the formation of red blood cells, DNA synthesis , protein metabolism, and for the prevention of neural tube defects in the developing foetus during early pregnancy. The neural tube in a new foetus becomes the baby's spinal cord, brain and the bones that surround them.
olic acid is also used for other conditions commonly associated with folate deficiency, including ulcerative colitis, liver disease, alcoholism, and kidney dialysis.
Women who are pregnant or might become pregnant take folic acid to prevent miscarriage and “neural tube defects,” birth defects such as spina bifida that occur when the fetus’s spine and back do not close during development.
Some people use folic acid to prevent colon cancer or cervical cancer. It is also used to prevent heart disease and stroke, as well as to reduce blood levels of a chemical called homocysteine. High homocysteine levels might be a risk for heart disease.
Folic acid is used for memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, age-related hearing loss, preventing the eye disease age-related macular degeneration (AMD), reducing signs of aging, weak bones (osteoporosis), jumpy legs (restless leg syndrome), sleep problems, depression, nerve pain, muscle pain, AIDS, a skin disease called vitiligo, and an inherited disease called Fragile-X syndrome. It is also used for reducing harmful side effects of treatment with the medications lometrexol and methotrexate.
Some people apply folic acid directly to the gum for treating gum infections
Folate naturally occurs in a wide variety of foods, including vegetables (particularly dark green leafy vegetables), fruits and fruit juices, nuts, beans, peas, dairy products, poultry and meat, eggs, seafood, grains, and some beers. Avocado, beetroot, spinach, liver, yeast, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are among the foods with the highest levels of folate
· Deficiency of vitamin B9 is caused by alcoholism, malabsorption diseases, pharmaceuticals, and dialysis. Signs of vitamin B9 deficiency increase with age.
· Deficiency of vitamin B9 may lead to heart palpitations, birth defects, and leucopoenia. Infertility and sterility have also been reported in patients suffering from vitamin B9 deficiency. The deficiency of vitamin B9 increases the risk of atherosclerosis and heart diseases.
· Vitamin B9 is essential for the development of the nervous system of a growing fetus. Deficiency of B9 can cause spina bifida in the baby.
· Long-term deficiency of vitamin B9 results in anemia. It can also lead to osteoporosis and cancer of the bowel or cervix.
Folic acid is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth or injected into the body. Most adults do not experience any side effects when used in doses less than 1000 mcg daily.
Folic acid is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large doses, long-term. High doses of folic acid might cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, rash, sleep disorders, irritability, confusion, nausea, stomach upset, behavior changes, skin reactions, seizures, gas, excitability, and other side effects.
There is some concern that taking too much folic acid for a long period of time might cause serious side effects. Some research suggests that taking folic acid in doses of 800-1200 mcg might increase the risk of heart attack in people who have heart problems. Other research suggests that taking these high doses might also increase the risk of cancer such as lung or prostate cancer.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Folic acid is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately during pregnancy and breast-feeing. Taking 300-400 mcg of folic acid daily is commonly used during pregnancy to prevent birth defects.
Procedures to widen narrowed arteries (angioplasty): Using folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 intravenously (by IV) or by mouth might worsen narrowed arteries. Folic acid should not be used by people recovering from this procedure.
Cancer: Early research suggests that taking 800-1000 mcg of folic acid daily might increase the risk of cancer. Until more is known, people with a history of cancer should avoid high doses of folic acid.
Heart disease: Early research suggests that taking folic acid plus vitamin B6 might increase the risk for heart attack in people with a history of heart disease.
Anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency: Taking folic acid might mask anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency and delay appropriate treatment.
Seizure disorder: Taking folic acid supplements might make seizures worse in people with seizure disorders, particularly in high doses.
Fosphenytoin (Cerebyx) interacts with FOLIC ACID
Fosphenytoin (Cerebyx) is used for seizures. The body breaks down fosphenytoin (Cerebyx) to get rid of it. Folic acid can increase how quickly the body breaks down fosphenytoin (Cerebyx). Taking folic acid along with fosphenytoin (Cerebyx) might decrease the effectiveness of fosphenytoin (Cerebyx) for preventing seizures.
Methotrexate (MTX, Rheumatrex) interacts with FOLIC ACID
Methotrexate (MTX, Rheumatrex) works by decreasing the effects of folic acid in the body's cells. Taking folic acid pills along with methotrexate might decrease the effectiveness of methotrexate (MTX, Rheumatrex).
Phenobarbital (Luminal) interacts with FOLIC ACID
Phenobarbital (Luminal) is used for seizures. Taking folic acid can decrease how well phenobarbital (Luminal) works for preventing seizures.
Phenytoin (Dilantin) interacts with FOLIC ACID
The body breaks down phenytoin (Dilantin) to get rid of it. Folic acid might increase how quickly the body breaks down phenytoin (Dilantin). Taking folic acid and taking phenytoin (Dilantin) might decrease the effectiveness of phenytoin (Dilantin) and increase the possibility of seizures.
Primidone (Mysoline) interacts with FOLIC ACID
Primidone (Mysoline) is used for seizures. Folic acid might cause seizure in some people. Taking folic acid can along with primidone (Mysoline) might decrease how well primidone works for preventing seizures.
Pyrimethamine (Daraprim) interacts with FOLIC ACID
Pyrimethamine (Daraprim) is used to treat parasite infections. Folic acid might decrease the effectiveness of pyrimethamine (Daraprim) for treating parasite infections.