How Important Is Vitamin B9 To Women’s Health?
Vitamin B9, more commonly known as folate or folic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin essential for human growth and development. It encourages normal nerve and brain functioning and may help prevent heart disease and stroke by reducing blood levels of homocysteine (an amino-acid byproduct that is believed to raise the risk of heart attack, stroke and dementia). Studies suggest it may also help slow memory decline associated with aging.
Pregnant women have an increased need for folic acid: it supports the growth of the placenta and fetus, and it helps to prevent several types of birth defects, especially those of the brain and spine, such as neural tube defects. Pregnant women and women of childbearing age should take extra steps to get enough folic acid. Spinach, green vegetables and beans are good sources. Other natural sources of folate include asparagus, bananas, melons, lemons, legumes, yeast and mushrooms.
Recent research has shown that a percentage of people carry a genetic inability to properly turn folic acid into its active folate form. This gene mutation (MTHFR) may mean the need for more specialized forms of folate supplementation and not its common folic acid form. Work with your healthcare provider or seek the guidance of a trained integrative medicine specialist to know what is best for you.
Try these recipes that offer up vitamin B9:
If you are pregnant or nursing, discuss your vitamin B9 dosage with your obstetrician/gynecologist as supplementation is highly recommended to ensure you are getting enough.
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