Folate – naturally occurring vitamin B9 - is the vitamin whose essential role in pregnancy is most widely known. It is necessary for the production of new DNA which is needed for the production of new cells. The growing life within the womb engages in constant cell division and the mother must expand her blood supply with the production of new red blood cells – these activities demand a generous supply of folate.
Folate naturally supports heart health, working to convert the amino acid homocysteine into methionine. A deficiency of folate can allow homocysteine levels to accumulate in the body, with high levels of homocysteine associated with heart disease and stroke. It can also block blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain, interfering with the production of the feel good hormones serotonin and dopamine which regulate mood. Within the body folate is an activator, it stimulates the “natural killer” cells of the immune system which are in charge of fighting infections and malignant cells.