Vitamins are chemical compounds, whose presence in the human body ensures and supports the proper functioning of our body. There is no doubt that a diet rich in vitamins not only positively affects the body but also helps to achieve the desired figure. It is probably not necessary to make anyone aware that each vitamin has different properties, nevertheless, it should be mentioned that precisely because of the variety of vitamins’ properties, the demand for certain vitamins is greater than for other chemical compounds. Such a vitamin is vitamin B11.
Vitamin B11 - what is it?
Vitamin B11, also known as folic acid, vitamin B9, folacin, or vitamin M, is a water-soluble chemical compound, belonging to the group of B vitamins, usually found in the tissues of plants and animals. It plays a key role in the process of development and differentiation of human organism’s cells, in particular, is responsible for the proper functioning of the nervous and circulatory systems.
Functions of vitamin B11
One of the roles of folic acid is to actively participate in the synthesis of nucleic acids, i.e. the process of creating DNA molecules. Vitamin B11, along with other substances, is also active during the formation of red blood cells. In addition, the tasks of this vitamin include the regulation of homocysteine levels in the body. Homocysteine is an amino acid that has a strong impact on our health, excess of which can lead to various serious health conditions like atherosclerosis.
The fact that an abnormal level of homocysteine increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack or stroke, or the occurrence of venous thromboses, highlights how important products rich in folic acid diet should be in our diet. What is more, folic acid ensures the proper functioning of the immune system, supports the production of serotonin, which is an essential factor in ensuring healthy sleep and relaxation. Last but not least, vitamin B11 protects the body against various types of cancer, e.g. it significantly reduces the likelihood of cervical cancer occurrence.
Vitamin B11 deficiency
Vitamin B11 deficiency is particularly harmful to women in the early pregnancy stage because it significantly increases the risk of neural tube defects. The neural tube is a characteristic structure of the nervous system, which develops into the spinal cord and brain as the fetus grows.
When this process is disturbed in any way, amniotic fluid enters the brain and spinal cord, resulting in the halting of the development of these organs. Neural tube defects, e.g. abnormal fusion of the neural tube, can lead even to complete brainlessness, or to a cerebral hernia, which will result in impairment of the motor and mental system.
What affects the level of vitamin B11 in the body
It should also be mentioned that the level of folic acid in the body is influenced by many additional factors. First of all, the amount of vitamin B11 decreases if the level of stress in everyday life is high, but also if we use various stimulants such as coffee, alcohol, or cigarettes. In addition, folic acid deficiency is more likely if we take acetylsalicylic acid, contraceptives, as well as if we suffer from liver diseases or inflammations of the stomach and intestines.
Excess of vitamin B11
In turn, the effect of excess in the body of vitamin B11 is, masking the symptoms of deficiency of vitamin B12, the lack of which impairs the proper functioning of the nervous system. A side effect of vitamin B11 excess, at the same time with cancerous lesions, is an intensification of the process of carcinogenesis, i.e. change of an organism cell into a cancerous cell.
How to take vitamin B11?
It should be remembered, however, that folic acid is a substance that breaks down easily under the influence of higher temperatures and sunlight, so the above products should not be stored for too long. It is worth mentioning that vitamin B11 supplied to the body from food is only absorbed in 50%, which causes problems if we need to supplement deficiencies of this vitamin immediately. In such a situation, a good solution is to take synthetic folic acid in the form of a dietary supplement, because the level of absorption of vitamin B11 in this form is about 100%.