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
|broccoli||Brussels sprouts||citrus fruits||lentils||lettuce|
|nuts and seeds||papaya||peas||spinach||wheat germ|
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of folate varies with age and gestation or lactation.
|AGE OR CONDITION||0-6 mos||7-12 mos||1-3 yrs||4-8 yrs||9-13 yrs||14+ yrs||pregnancy||lactation|
|RDI||65 mcg||80 mcg||150 mcg||200 mcg||300 mcg||400 mcg||600 mcg||500 mcg|