Folic acid (vitamin B9): what it is, functions, benefits and rich foods

He folic acid is a vitamin B group that, although it tends not to provide energy to the body, it is essential for our body to function properly.

Not in vain, surely you know that folic acid is essential for pregnant women, especially because the lack of this vitamin in pregnant women can cause a series of congenital problems in the baby, as it contributes to the formation of your brain and the spinal cord.

Folic acid or vitamin B9

With regard to their own Folic acid benefits , we find that it helps in the prevention of the onset of cardiovascular diseases, while reducing the risk of suffering from various types of cancer.

What is the folic acid or vitamin B9?

He folic acid , like the vitamin B1 or thiamin , is a water-soluble vitamin of the group B , yes, unlike other water-soluble vitamins, it is not necessary to eat it on a daily basis.

This is because folic acid can be stored in the liver. Of course, its deficit is asymptomatic until pregnancy, when it becomes necessary for rapid production and cell division.

Not in vain, there are some studies that have proven that women who consume the recommended amount of folic acid - along with a healthy and healthy diet - a few weeks before and after conception, protect the fetus from certain congenital malformations.

It is a vitamin that is also known by the name of vitamin B9 or folate , mainly because the most common is to find it in large quantities in green leafy vegetables, such as spinach or kale.

Main functions of folic acid

Essential before and during pregnancy

As we have seen in the article The importance of folic acid before and during pregnancy , keep adequate amounts of this vitamin is essential, because:

  • Prevents deformations in the placenta, preventing it from being a possible cause of miscarriage.
  • Prevents birth defects in the brain (anencephaly).
  • Prevents birth defects in the spine (spina bifida).
  • Reduces the risk of eclampsia and gestational hypertension.
  • Reduces the risk of premature birth.
  • Prevents the baby at birth from being underweight or suffering from megaloblastic anemia.

Folic acid and pregnancy

Fundamental for new cells

Although folic acid is a well-known vitamin for its relationship with the prevention of various congenital defects in pregnancy, as we will see in a next section, the truth is that is essential for the body to be able to maintain and create new cells .

It is, as we see, a very important function, insofar as it is essential to increase the consumption of foods rich in folic acid during childhood and pregnancy, as the periods of both division and cell growth are more important (being more appropriate make them faster).

In fact, a deficit of folic acid hinders the synthesis and division of cells, negatively affecting the bone marrow (place where blood cells are precisely formed).

Involved in the development of the nervous system and DNA replication

On the other hand, Folic acid is essential for the proper functioning and development of our nervous system . In addition, it is necessary for adequate DNA replication.

Fundamental in the production of red blood cells

It is a fundamental vitamin for the correct and adequate production of red blood cells , which consist of a fundamental part of our blood, by transporting oxygen to the different body tissues of our body.

Therefore, regular consumption of foods with a high content of folic acid in turn helped in the prevent anemia .

Where can we find folic acid? The richest foods

Fundamentally we can find folic acid in the following foods:

  • Vegetables : especially green leafy vegetables, such as Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, green asparagus and cabbage stand out.
  • Fruits : citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons, as well as bananas and melons.
  • Vegetables : especially chickpeas, lentils, dried beans and beans.
  • meats : especially beef or chicken liver.
  • Nuts : a handful a day brings many benefits. Peanuts stand out.

However, here are the amounts of folic acid found in the foods with the greatest contribution in this vitamin:


Amount of folic acid or vitamin B9 in mcg. per 100 g.

Soy 239 mcg
Sunflower seeds 225 mcg
Liver 190 mcg
Vegetables 185 mcg
Chard 140 mcg
Spinach 130 mcg
Peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds 105-95 mcg
Leek 102 mcg
Beet 89 mcg
Coles 78 mcg

Foods with high content of folic acid

Benefits of folic acid

Taking into account those main benefits on which we have already summarized in previous lines of the folic acid In pregnant women, we must tell you that it is also very good for men and women of any age.

This is because folic acid plays an important role in the production of red blood cells, so that a deficit of this vitamin can cause anemia .

In addition, we must not forget that, according to recent studies, folic acid can help prevent cardiovascular disease, and even reduce the chances of the appearance of various types of cancer, such as colon and cervix.

Properties of folic acid

Here we comment on the main properties that folic acid gives us:

  • Essential in pregnancy, as it contributes to the formation of the spinal cord and the brain of the fetus.
  • Prevents the appearance of cardiovascular diseases.
  • It decreases the risk of various types of cancer, among which are the colon, uterus and breast.
  • Preserves the immune system.
  • It has anti-anemic virtues.

Recommended daily amounts of folic acid

As many experts think, it is in a certain sense difficult to obtain the necessary amount of this vitamin only through diet, which is why many doctors recommend the daily consumption of a complete multivitamin that includes folic acid.

In addition, the synthetic forms of folic acid that can be found in these types of supplements are much easier to assimilate by the body than in its natural form.

Of course, experts recommend that, while the daily intake of folic acid should be 400 micrograms, during pregnancy this amount is increased to 600 micrograms per day .

Daily amounts of folic acid:

  • Children: 200 micrograms.
  • Adults (from 19 years old): 400 micrograms.
  • Pregnant: 600 micrograms.
  • Nursing women: 500 micrograms.

Symptoms of folic acid deficiency

As with other vitamins and minerals, the fact is that suffering from a deficit of folic acid can cause the appearance of certain symptoms or conditions. The most common, which can alert us of this, are the following:

  • Delay in growth (in children and adolescents).
  • Ulcers in the mouth and inflammation of the tongue.
  • Headache and behavior disorders.
  • Weakness and fatigue.
  • Irritability.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Peptide ulcer.
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