Vitamin B12 or B9, more commonly recognised as folate, helps the body to form healthy red blood cells, as well as reduces the risk of central central neural tube defects in unborn babies, such as spina bifida.
When somebody lacks folate, they develop abnormally large red blood cells which cannot function properly like regular-sized ones. Problems that can be caused from a deficiency of folate include extreme tiredness, lack of energy, pins and needles in the feet, disturbed vision, depressions, confusion and memory issues.
A folate deficiency can be a result of pernicious anaemia, certain medication or a general lack of vitamins in your diet. You’re more likely to have a folate deficiency if you’re aged 65 or over. Therefore, supplements might be recommended to prevent having a deficiency.
If you believe you might have a deficiency of folate, see your healthcare professional. They might be able to diagnose you based on your symptoms, or take a blood test for a more accurate diagnosis.
Each of the B vitamins have individual characteristics and health benefits, but often found co-existing in the same food sources.