VITAMIN B9 (Folic Acid)
Folic Acid is important in combination with Vitamins B6 and B12 in lowering basal levels of the amino acid homocysteine by converting it into another amino acid cysteine. When cysteine combines with two other amino acids they have antioxidant properties. High levels of homocysteine in the blood is a marker for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the amount of homocysteine in the blood is regulated by three vitamins B9, B12 and B6.
It is fairly common to have low levels of folic acid. Alcoholism, in ammatory bowel disease (IBD), and celiac disease can cause folic acid de ciency. Also, certain medications may lower levels of folic acid in the body.
Folic acid deficiency can cause:
- Poor growth
- Tongue inflammation
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Mental sluggishness
Pregnant women need more folic acid to lower the risk of neural tube birth defects, including cleft palate, spina bi da, and brain damage. Neural tube defects are birth defects caused by abnormal development of the neural tube.