Vitamins B work in synergy so they are all more or less pro-elements of each other.
The vitamins of complex B (see course 142, Nutritional Foundations) are mainly sensitive to heat, cooking and very soluble in water.
We will see, in a series of articles for the blog, the different players in the Vitamin B team.
Let’s start with Vitamin B9.
Vitamin B9 has several roles – and several names. When we refer to its natural form, we speak of folate. In fact, the natural vitamin B9 found in green vegetables is a set of various molecules: tetrahydrofolates, dihydrofolates and formyltetrahydrofolate.
When vitamin B9 is synthesised for consumption as a supplement, it is called folic acid. It is indeed folic acid which is a key vitamin during pregnancy. Vitamin B9 deficiency can lead to serious fetal malformations and premature labor. It is known that this vitamin plays a key role in the functioning of the nervous system. Thanks to it, the risk of spina bifida, a malformation that affects newborns, decreases by 90%.
In addition, its role in the nervous system allows it to reduce the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It is vitamin B9 that helps the brain and nervous metabolism (especially in the transmission of nerve impulses). As we have said, it allows the formation of the neural tube in the fetus. Also, it plays a role in DNA synthesis and cell division. Finally, it participates in the metabolism of proteins and the formation of red blood cells.
We will suggest Vitamin B9 in case of:
– neural tube defects;
– prevention of cardiovascular diseases
– to reduce homocysteine levels related to kidney disease
In the latter case, let’s analyse the team work done by the different players of Complex B:
The link between vitamins B6 / B9 / B12 is based on a physiological question: during the digestion of proteins, amino acids are released – methionine and homocysteine, an intermediary of the metabolism of methionine. Healthy individuals metabolise homocysteine in two different ways:
1) the conversion of homocysteine to methionine is dependent on vitamin B9 (folic acid) and vitamin B12,
2) while the conversion of homocysteine to the cysteine amino acid requires two vitamin B6 dependent enzymes.
The blood concentration of homocysteine is therefore regulated by at least three vitamins: B9, B12, and B6.
Deficiencies and Supplements
It is not uncommon to see vitamin B9 deficiency in industrialised countries. Deficiency symptoms include:
– weight loss,
– splitting of the nails,
– mood and sleep disorders,
– growth retardation
– Hair loss.
Because of its particular fragility, the molecule can not be isolated from vitamin B9. That’s why a synthetic version was created – folic acid. On the other hand, it is strongly suggested to take Vitamin B9 in natural form because its synthetic counterpart has not very reassuring consequences. Indeed, it has been suggested clinically that it accelerates cancerous tumours and even the risk of having cancer!
If it is true that the players of the complex B are pro-elements for each other, sometimes it is the opposite. Let’s analyse an example.
Vitamin B9, which has a dose greater than 1 mg, may mask vitamin B12 deficiency. Indeed, taking vitamin B9 at these doses may hide the classic symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. The deficiency symptoms will no longer be visible which is dangerous. There will be no more signs of clinical appeal and we can miss a vitamin B12 deficiency when it exists. This is because vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 have metabolic pathways that intersect. A large intake of vitamin B9 modifies the metabolism linked to vitamin B12. If the latter is deficient, the symptoms that should normally appear will be masked. Thus, deficiency increases because it goes unnoticed and neurological damage can become very serious and especially irreversible.
Food Sources of the B9
Folic acid is mainly found in the following foods:
– liver (lamb, veal, beef)
– Orange juice
– Romaine lettuce
– roasted sunflower seeds
– enriched pasta
Spinach is a good source of vitamin B9. When spinach is cooked in water, vitamin B9 also tends to leak into the cooking water. So, depending on the amount of water used and whether or not the spinach is drained, more or less of the vitamin is lost / recovered.
Like her friends in the Vitamin B team, the B9 in natural form is very fragile – cooking destroys a good part of it. Also, green vegetables that are not stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator lose more than 50% of their vitamin B9 content in just three days.
Recipe for Booster Vitamin B9: PASTA WITH SPINACH, ASPARAGUS AND NUTS
400 gr linguine
1 bunch of asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
200 gr of spinach
50 gr goat cheese
50 gr of nuts
Cook the asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes, then cool in ice water and set aside. Cook the pasta in a large volume of salt water until it is almost dry, drain well and reserve 125 ml of cooking water.
In a skillet, drop spinach with olive oil and crushed garlic. Add the asparagus and the pasta with the cooking water. Serve with cheese and nuts.
In fact, 1/2 cup of cooked spinach contains 139 μg of folate. Add asparagus that contains 134 μg for half a cup. With the nuts in the recipe (1/4 cup equals 33 μg), you will get almost the recommended 400 μg per day of Vitamin B9. Pregnant or breastfeeding women will have to supplement with something else to reach their higher quota.
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