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- Vitamin B9, also called folic acid or folate, is one of eight water-soluble B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body to convert carbohydrates into glucose (sugar), which is "burned" to produce energy.
- These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, are essential in the breakdown of fats and protein.
- B complex vitamins also play an important role in maintaining muscle tone along the lining of the digestive tract and promoting the health of the nervous system, skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver.
- Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health. It aids in the production of DNA and RNA, the body's genetic material, and is especially important during periods of high growth, such as infancy, adolescence and pregnancy.
- Folic acid also works closely together with vitamin B12 to regulate the formation of red blood cells and to help iron function properly in the body.
- Vitamin B9 works closely with vitamins B6 and B12 as well as the nutrients betaine and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) to control blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine.
- Elevated levels of this substance appear to be linked to certain chronic conditions such as heart disease and, possibly, depression and Alzheimer's disease.