Folic acid (vitamin B9) is an essential nutrient that helps the body produce new cells and helps protect DNA from damage, therefore it is critical during pregnancy when the foetus is going through a period of explosive growth of new cells. It also helps to decrease and normalize the homocysteine levels in our body. Increased homocysteine levels are associated with the build-up of plaques in the artery walls (atherosclerosis), which can lead to heart disease or stroke. Folic acid deficiency is linked to complications in pregnancies, neurological disorders, and osteoporosis. Adequate folic acid levels are also associated with a reduced risk of developing certain cancers. Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables, beans, asparagus, nuts, and enriched grains and cereals, but can be diminished during storage, preparation, and cooking. Supplementation is recommended particularly for people who suffer from degenerative diseases, bowel or kidney diseases, and for women of child-bearing years.
- 1 mg (1000 mcg) of folic acid, the maximum permitted in a supplement
- Folic acid in combination with vitamins B6 and B12 comprise the powerhouse trio of B vitamins for reducing homocysteine levels
- Adequate levels of folic acid are linked to reduced rates of cancers of the colon, breast, pancreas, cervix, and leukemia
- Folic acid is vital to a healthy pregnancy and reduces the risk of Spina bifida and cleft palate
- In combination with zinc, it may help improve male fertility