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Vitamin B9 (Folate: folic acid)

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Vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid, is part of the B vitamin family. It is essential for human growth and development, encourages normal nerve and proper brain functioning, and may help reduce blood-levels of the amino acid homocysteine (elevated homocysteine levels have been implicated in increased risk of heart disease and stroke).

Folic acid may also help protect against cancers of the lung, colon, and cervix, and may help slow memory decline associated with aging. For pregnant women, it supports the growth of the placenta and fetus, and helps to prevent several types of birth defects, especially those of the brain and spine.

Folate occurs naturally in foods, while folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Good sources of vitamin B9 (folic acid) include Dark Leafy greens (Spinach, Turnip Greens, Collards), Bean Sprouts (Soybean and Pea), Beans (Pinto, Garbanzo, Mung), Asparagus, Peanuts, etc. Also good sources are fortified products such as orange juice, baked goods, and cereals. Other natural sources of folate include bananas, melons, lemons, legumes, yeast, and mushrooms.