Vitamin B9 has many important roles in the body. None of which are more important than its vital role in cellular and DNA replication. Vitamin B9, also known as Folic Acid is most commonly known because of it's extreme importance during pregnancy and the severe problems a deficiency can cause. While the major function of Vitamin B9 occurs during cellular division, the body does use it in other ways. Vitamin B9 comes naturally from foods (mainly green vegetables) in the form of Folate, but can also be obtained from supplements and enriched foods (bread, cereals and pasta) in the form of Folic Acid. Both forms of Vitamin B9 serve the same purpose once inside the body.
The main function of Vitamin B9 in the body occurs when cells divide and grow. The presence of Vitamin B9 is necessary when DNA replicates, both as a catalyst that regulates the rate of division, but also to check for errors after the DNA has divided. A deficiency of Vitamin B9 will not only lower the rate at which cellular division can occur, but also increase the rate at which errors will occur in the new DNA.
There are a few areas of the body where this function is very important because obviously cells that reproduce rapidly will need more Vitamin B9. One of these areas is in the reproduction system of both men and women. Sperm quality and quantity is impacted by the adequate supply of Vitamin B9. Likewise in females, egg production is dependent on Vitamin B9. Furthermore in the female reproduction system, Vitamin B9 is crucial for implantation and placental development.
The role of Vitamin B9 during cellular reproduction is also very important in red blood cell genesis. Vitamin B9 plays a pivotal role in ensuring that adequate amounts of functioning red blood cells are found in the circulatory system. In many cases, a vitamin B9 deficiency will result in low red blood cell counts as well as increased numbers of non-functioning red blood cells.
Of course, no article regarding with Vitamin B9 would be complete without mentioning its absolute vital role in fetal development. Because of its important role in cellular division, Vitamin B9 is used in large amounts by a fetus because of how fast the fetal cells are dividing. It is very important that any woman who has a possibility of getting pregnant should be taking Folic Acid supplements. In most cases, problems caused to the fetus if the mother has a vitamin B9 deficiency occurs before the mother even knows she is pregnant.
Because of its role as a proofreader during DNA replication, Vitamin B9 is an important nutrient to prevent cancer. When errors are made during cellular division, the normal result is cell death, but in some cases the new cell can become cancerous. Vitamin B9's role during cellular division is to correct errors before they cause harm to the new cell.
Vitamin B9 also has an important role in the regulation of certain chemicals in the bloodstream. Once of these chemicals is homocysteine, which is an amino acid used by the body to regulate clotting. If homocysteine levels are abnormally high, it can result in excess clotting which can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin B9 also has a few other functions inside the body including a use in fat metabolism as well as bile production in the liver. The role in the liver with regards to bile production can result in many problems related to digestion, especially of fats.
Vitamin B9 has many functions throughout the body, but none as important as it's role in cellular division and growth. This makes vitamin B9 an extremely important nutrient for mothers and their fetus. Vitamin B9 is also necessary to reduce the risks of leading killers such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.