The Top Vitamin B9 Rich Foods + Recipes
Why is Vitamin B9 important? How much do you need each day? Folate or Folic Acid? What do deficiencies look like? Which foods and recipes contain it?
What is Vitamin B9?
Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid is also known as folate, folacin, folinic tetrahydrofolate, L-5 methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), pteroyl-glutamic acid (PGA) and pteroylmonoglutamate. Like all B vitamins, it is water soluble. Folic acid is the most common deficiency in the world.
Why is Vitamin B9 important and what does it do in the body?
Folic acid functions together and works well with Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Choline and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). It is critical to cellular division because it is necessary in DNA synthesis and without it cells do not divide properly. It is a “methyl” donor in the body, along with Vitamin B12 and S-adenosyl-methionine (SaMe) which donate methyl molecules to facilitate in the manufacture of nucleic acids and neurotransmitters. It is critical during preconception and during the first few weeks of pregnancy, as it is essential for the development of the brain and nerves. It prevents neural tube defects (developmental failure affecting the brain and spinal cord in the embryonic phase of fetal development) and spina bifida in babies. It is also necessary for the growth and reproduction of red blood cells and aids the conversion of homocysteine to methionine with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6. Elevated homocysteine has been linked with heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. Folic acid supports the production of gastric hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It also helps with the breakdown and utilization of protein.
What amount of Vitamin B9 do you need each day?
Vitamin B9 or folic acid can be found in multivitamins and B complex vitamins, or sold separately under the name folic acid (poorly utilized), folinic acid and L-5-MTHF which is the most bio-available source.
Note: Individuals with genetic defects in the MTHFR gene can only utilize the L-5-MTHF form of folic acid.
The DRI (Daily Recommended Intake) /RDA (Recommended DailyAllowance) of dietary vitamin B9 are listed below:
Please Note: By definition, the DRI/RDA recommendations apply only to 98% of healthy individuals and are not sufficient for those with higher nutrient requirements based upon their biochemical individuality, genetics, health status, medications, deficiencies, lifestyle, and toxic exposures.
- Infants 0 - 6 months: 65 mcg (adequate intake)
- Infants 7 - 12 months: 80 mcg (adequate intake)
- Children 1 - 3 years: 150 mcg (RDA)
- Children 4 - 8 years: 200 mcg (RDA)
- Children 9 - 13 years: 300 mcg (RDA)
- Teens 14 - 18 years: 400 mcg (RDA)
- 19 years and older: 400 mcg (RDA)
- Pregnant women: 600 mcg (RDA)
- Breastfeeding women: 500 mcg (RDA)
Amounts used in studies for heart disease range from 400 - 1,200 mcg. However, high levels of folate can hide a vitamin B12 deficiency, and should be taken only under a health care provider's supervision.
Recommended Daily Allowance: 200mcg/Day
Optimal Daily Allowance: 800mcg/Day
What are possible Vitamin B9 deficiency symptoms?
Restless legs syndrome
Anxiety or tension
Premature greying hair
Lack of appetite
Digestive disturbances such as stomach pains, diarrhea,constipation and Ulcerative colitis
Loss of Villi in the small intestine
What are possible Vitamin B9 excess symptoms?
Folic acid is extremely safe and well tolerated but high doses (e.g. 5 to 10milligrams) may cause increased flatulence, nausea and loss of appetite. High dosages should also be used with caution in individuals with epilepsy as on occasions it may increase seizure activity.
What steals Vitamin B9 from the body?
The use of the following drugs can cause depletions of folic acid:
Aspirin depletes folic acid by displacing bound serum folate.
Female hormones such as estrogens as it affects the absorption of folic acid and vitamin B6. Oral contraceptives.
Anti-Hyperlipidemia drugs such as bile acid sequestrants such as Cholestyramine (Questran) and Colestipol (Colestid).
Anti-seizure drugs such as barbiturates including Phenobarbital (Luminal Sodium),Phenobarbital (Nembutal Sodium), Thioopental, Secobarbital (Seconal), Methohexital. Phenytoin (Dilantin), Carbazepine (Tegratol), Primidone (Mysoline)
Anti-Inflammatory drugs such as gout drugs Colchicine (ColBENEMID), Probenecid (Benemid), nonselective NSAID’s including Ibuprofen, Naproxen (Naprosyn), Sulindac (Clinoril), Indomethacin and indocin.
Anti-rheumatic drugs such as Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
High temperature, light and food processing.
The use of broad spectrum antibiotics such as Bactrim, Septra and Trimpex.
Antacid drugs such as Aluminium containing drugs such as Gaviscon, Maalox and Mylanta. Calcium containing antacids such as Mylanta, Rolaids and Tums. Magnesium containing antacids such as Gaviscon, Maalox and Mylanta and Sodium Bicarbonate such as Alka Seltzer as these decrease stomach acids and an alkaline pH inhibits absorption.
H-2 Receptos antagonists such as Cimetidine (Tagamet), Famotidine (Pepcid), Nizatidine (Axid) and Ranitidine (Zantac).
What tests can be used to assess Vitamin B9 levels?
Elevated Homocysteine in plasma (>15nmol/ml suggests folic acid deficiency)
Homocysteine in urine (>25ug/mg Creatinine suggests deficiency)
Folate in serum (<0.3ng/ml suggests deficiency)
Folacin in Red Blood cells (<160ng/ml suggests folic acid deficiency)
What are the best foods to eat that contain the highest amounts of Vitamin B9?
Top 9 Vitamin B9 rich foods are:
1. Yeast Extract 1010mcg/100g
Recipe: Creamy Cheese Sauce
Recipe: Cauliflower Popcorn
2. Liver 691mcg/100g
3. Sunflower seeds 238mcg/100g
Recipe: Cinnamon Spice Baked N'Oatmeal
Recipe: Rosemary Raisin Crackers
4. Collard greens 194mcg/100g
Recipe: Paleo Mess of Greens
5. Raw Spinach 194mcg/100g
Recipe: Green Goddess Bowls
6. Raw Collard Greens 166mcg/100g
Recipe: Raw Collard Green Salad
7. Chickpeas 172mcg/100g
Recipe: Chickpea Shakshuka
8. Asparagus 148mcg/100g
9. Peanuts 145mcg/100g
Recipe: Nutter Butters
What are the very best Vitamin B9 products to purchase?
L-5-MTHF is the best form of folic acid.
This article was written by Jonathan Tommey, CCN and Bella Grace, NTP. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Content should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
Isabella Grace is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner focusing on toxin-free, natural living to its fullest extent. Her mission is to provide personalized integrative health solutions to create sustainable, lifelong change and enable you to live, love, and serve at your fullest health potential.
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