Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 (Folate) is essential for producing red and white blood cells in bone marrow and transforming carbohydrates into energy. Folate is especially important during periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence.

It’s best to get folate from whole foods. Folic acid, often confused with folate, is a synthetic form of vitamin B9 used in supplements and added to processed food products, such as flour and breakfast cereals. Several studies indicate that chronically elevated levels of unmetabolized folic acid may have adverse health effects. High levels of unmetabolized folic acid have been associated with increased cancer risk. Among elderly people, high folic acid levels can mask vitamin B12 deficiency which, if untreated, may increase the risk of dementia and impaired nerve function.

A folate deficiency can lead to lack of energy, poor immune function and impaired digestion. Folate is especially important nutrient for pregnant women to prevent birth defects like spina bifida.

Some Plant-based Food Sources of Folate

asparagusavocadobananabeansbeets
broccoliBrussels sproutscitrus fruitslentilslettuce
nuts and seedspapayapeasspinachwheat germ
Source: healthline

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of folate varies with age and gestation or lactation.

AGE OR CONDITION0-6 mos7-12 mos1-3 yrs4-8 yrs9-13 yrs14+ yrspregnancylactation
RDI65 mcg80 mcg150 mcg200 mcg300 mcg400 mcg600 mcg500 mcg
Source: Medical News Today