What is the difference between vitamin B9 and other B vitamins?

Neal Spruce
Neal Spruce on behalf of dotFIT
Vitamin B9 is also known as folic acid or folate, which is the natural form in the body. All the B-vitamins (like all individual vitamins) have their specific functions but also work together and are responsible for virtually all metabolic and developmental processes that take place in the body, including energy production, cell division, cell replication, growth, etc.

The human body needs folate to synthesize DNA and repair DNA. Folic acid is especially important in aiding rapid cell division and growth such as in infancy and pregnancy. Everyone requires folic acid to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia. It is particularly important during pregnancy to make sure the fetus develops properly and helps prevent neural tube defects.

The other B vitamins include B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxamine), B7 (biotin), and B12.The goal is to make sure you get proper daily amounts of all necessary B vitamins. This goal is accomplished by eating a healthy diet (as found in the Sharecare Fitness application) and taking a daily multivitamin and mineral formula that contains the necessary B vitamins within the amounts shown below (upper portion of range for active people and/or dieters unless otherwise noted):
  • B1: 2-10 mg
  • B2: 5-10 mg
  • B3 (Niacinamide -- this form will not cause flushing): 15-30 mg
  • B5: 0-15 mg (women and over 50)
  • B6: 6-12 mg
  • B7 (biotin): 100-300 mcg
  • Folic acid: 200-400 mcg
  • B12: 12-100 mcg
There are seven other B vitamins in addition to vitamin B9 or folic acid. They are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), cyanocobalamin (B12). Each of the B vitamins shares the job of helping your body metabolize sugar for energy and helping create or improve cells. The reason they are classified as different vitamins, however, is because they all serve a slightly different specific function. For example, B9 helps you avoid DNA mutations that could cause cancer, while too little B12 or B6 in your diet could cause you to have anemia.

Continue Learning about Vitamin B9

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.