Book between plants with supplement capsules

Knowledge blog > Micronutrient dictionary

Vitamin B9 (folic acid | folate)

Table of contents

What is vitamin b9?

Vitamin B9 is a water-soluble vitamin from the group of B vitamins. It is also known as folic acid or folate. In food supplements, you should make sure that the methylated folate form is used in the ingredients, i.e. (5-)methyltetrahydrofolate. This form can be directly utilized by the body.

What are the functions of vitamin b9?

Almost everyone knows folic acid because it is recommended for pregnant women. This B vitamin is important in the development of the neural tube of the embryo. The neural tube later forms the baby's spinal cord. Correct development is therefore crucial for later functions. Folic acid also contributes to blood formation. Folic acid is also involved in several other processes in the body. For example, the most important methyl group donor SAM (S-adenosylmethionine) is formed with the help of methylfolate. Methyl groups are important for a variety of processes in our body: formation of membrane phospholipids, gene regulation and neurotransmitter production, to name but a few. The functional group of folic acid is also involved in the production of the nucleotide with the base thymine. This is one of the ways in which vitamin B9 participates in cell division

What makes vitamin b9 unique?

Vitamin B9 is particularly relevant in the development of the central nervous system and is also relevant for DNA methylation. This opens up a lot of possibilities for vitamin B9.

How much vitamin B9 do you need per day?

The recommended folate intake according to the German Nutrition Society (DGE) is as follows:

Age Folate µg-equivalent*/day
0 to under 4 months 60
4 to under 12 months 80
Children and teenagers  
1 to under 4 years 120
4 to under 7 years 140
7 to under 10 years 180
10 to under 13 years 240
13 to under 15 years 300
15 to under 19 years 300
19 to under 25 years 300
5 to under 51 years 300
51 to under 65 years 300
65 years and older 300
Pregnant women 550
Breastfeeding 450

*Calculated according to the sum of folate-active compounds in the usual diet (folate equivalents):
1 μg folate equivalent = 1 μg dietary folate = 0.5 μg synthetic folic acid

When do you need vitamin b9 most?

If you are pregnant or planning to have children, you should make sure you have a sufficient, high-quality folic acid intake. Folic acid should also not be neglected during growth and when there is an increased need for concentration. If the homocysteine levels in the serum are too high, there is probably a methyl group deficiency. Here too, methylated folic acid is a useful supplement. In the case of anemia, the folic acid requirement may also be increased.

How does an vitamin b9 deficiency develop and how does it manifest itself?

As the body can only store a small amount of folic acid, a deficiency can develop relatively quickly. Not only an unbalanced diet, but also alcoholism, intestinal inflammation, coeliac disease and the intake of certain medications such as anti-epileptic drugs can promote such a deficiency. One possible consequence is so-called megaloblastic anemia, a special form of anemia in which the precursors of red blood cells are larger than average and are increasingly broken down. Signs of this include tiredness, paleness, irritability, shortness of breath and dizziness.

What happens if there is an overdose of vitamin b9?

A diet-related overdose is unlikely as excess folic acid is excreted by the body. With food supplements, the maximum amount of 1,000 µg folic acid per day should not be exceeded. Otherwise there is a risk of symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite and a bitter taste in the mouth.

Which foods are particularly high in vitamin B9?

Yeasts, cereal sprouts, pulses, liver and leafy vegetables are particularly rich in vitamin B9. As vitamin B9 is sensitive to heat and light, you should be careful when preparing it.

Further blog articles on the topic

What vitamins are there and what do they do in your body?
Vitamins are vital substances for your body. You need them to maintain all your bodily functions; without them, your body would not be able to perform or survive. In this article, we will start by introducing you to these vital substances and going into more detail about the functions of the vitamins. We even need two parts for 13 vitamins. Here in Part 1 you will find everything about the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and vitamin K2.
Read article
What are the functions of water-soluble vitamins?
Having already dealt with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2 in Part 1, the water-soluble vitamins, which are in no way inferior to the fat-soluble vitamins, are still missing. What functions do B vitamins and of course the well-known vitamin C have? Find out more in part 2 on vitamins.
Read article
Why are vitamins & co. so important for athletes?
How much importance should be attached to special nutrition for athletes? Why do athletes need more nutrients? Here you can find out more about the macro and micronutrients you need as an endurance or strength athlete.
Read article
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
What is vitamin b1, what function und effect does it have on your well-being?
Read article
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
What is vitamin B2, what function and effect does it have on your well-being?
Read article
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
What is vitamin B3, what function and effect does it have on your well-being?
Read article
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
What is vitamin B5, what function and effect does it have on your well-being?
Read article
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
What is vitamin B6, what function and effect does it have on your well-being?
Read article
Vitamin B7 (biotin)
What is vitamin B7, what function and effect does it have on your well-being?
Read article

This dictionary entry is based on carefully researched sources:

Bibliography & Sources