DNA Digest: Vitamin B9
Discover your content

DNA Digest: Vitamin B9

Get ready to learn all about vitamin B9, also known as folate, and how our genes can impact our ability to absorb and utilise this important nutrient.

We'll also cover how much vitamin B9 we need, and the best ways to get it in our diet. 

What is Vitamin B9?

Vitamin B9, or folate, is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in DNA synthesis and cell division. This is important for overall growth and development, especially during pregnancy. Folate also supports red blood cell production and helps prevent anaemia.

What is the MTHFR gene?

The MTHFR gene produces an enzyme that helps convert folate into its active form, which is necessary for around 300 different biological functions.

However, some people have variations in this gene that can impact the efficiency of this process. This can lead to differences in folate status among individuals.

Why is the MTHFR gene important?

Studies have found that individuals with certain variations in the MTHFR gene may require higher levels of folate intake to achieve optimal folate status. This is because their bodies may have a harder time converting folate into its active form.

How much vitamin B9 do we need?

The recommended daily intake of folate varies by age and sex. For adults, the recommended intake is 400-600 micrograms per day. Pregnant women require more, with a recommended intake of 600-800 micrograms per day.

What are some sources of vitamin B9?

Folate can be found in a variety of foods, such as leafy greens, legumes, and fortified cereals. Other sources include citrus fruits, avocado, and liver. However, cooking and processing can decrease folate levels in foods, so it's important to choose fresh, whole foods whenever possible.

What are the symptoms of Vitamin B9 deficiency?

Symptoms of folate deficiency can include fatigue, weakness, and difficulty concentrating (ie. brain fog). 

What can impact our Vitamin B9 levels?

In addition to genetic factors, lifestyle factors can also impact our folate requirements. Individuals who smoke or consume excessive amounts of alcohol may be at higher risk of folate deficiency, as these substances can interfere with folate absorption and utilisation.


In conclusion, vitamin B9 is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in our health. Our genes, such as the MTHFR gene, can impact our ability to absorb and utilise folate, but we can still support our folate levels through our diet and lifestyle choices. So, let's eat our leafy greens and limit our alcohol consumption for healthy folate levels and overall health!


Ashfield-Watt PA, Moat SJ, Doshi SN, et al. The effect of different doses of folic acid on endothelial function and postprandial oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial. Diabetologia. 2012;55(2):455-462. doi:10.1007/s00125-011-2392-2

Fenech M. Folate (vitamin B9) and vitamin B12 and their function in the maintenance of nuclear and mitochondrial genome integrity. Mutat Res. 2012;733(1-2):21-33. doi:10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2011.11.003

Goyette P, Sumner JS, Milos R, et al. Human methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase: isolation of cDNA, mapping and mutation identification. Nat Genet. 1994;7(2):195-200. doi:10.1038/ng0694-195

Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes and its Panel on Folate, Other B Vitamins, and Choline. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin

Related Articles
Gingerbread BodyFuel Smoothie Recipe

Gingerbread BodyFuel Smoothie Recipe

Christmassy Chocolate Orange Oats Recipe

Christmassy Chocolate Orange Oats Recipe

Enhance Your Wellbeing with Haskapa Berry Powder

Enhance Your Wellbeing with Haskapa Berry Powder