Often Thought As The “Prenatal” Vitamin
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) is also known as folate.
It is a water-soluble vitamin that is extremely important during times of rapid cell division; such as in pregnancy.
It is also vital for the production of healthy red blood cells.
Why do you need Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)?
- Cell Division
- Maintenance of new cells
- Synthesis of DNA
- Amino acid metabolism
- Nucleic acid metabolism
- Required to make normal red blood cells
Conditions Related to Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) Deficiency
- Megaloblastic anemia
- Neural tube defects
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Bipolar disorder
Typical doses range from 400 mcg – 2000 mcg. Therapeutic doses can range as high as 10 mg – 20 mg, although these higher ranges are not common.
The risk of toxicity is extremely low with the accepted upper limit of 1 mg (1000 mcg). However, doses as high as 20 mg (20, 000 mcg) have been well tolerated.
There are studies in which folic acid was used in amounts as high as 20 mg per day (that’s 20,000 mcg) to treat mental illnesses such as schizophrenia-like behavior, and in dosages as low as 4000 mcg for pregnant women who have had a child born with a defect.
Any concern relating to adverse effects revolves around another widely deficient B vitamin, Vitamin B12, and not so much with folic acid per se. Depending on the source, you may read that anemia stemming from a folic acid deficiency is more common than anemia brought on by a Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Taking higher doses of folic acid (usually 1000 mcg plus) without also increasing Vitamin B12 intake can result in worsening the effects of a Vitamin B12 deficiency, which in turn can lead to neurological issues. Remember, all vitamins depend upon each other to perform the thousands of bodily processes that they are responsible for.
With that said, folic acid toxicity is very rare, especially with dosages in the 400 mcg – 5000 mcg range.