Breakfast with coffee, orange juice, croissant, egg, vegetables and fruits

B9 Deficiency Anemia (Folate or Folic Acid)

July 8, 2016 ,

The body does not have the capacity to store large reserves of vitamin B9. It is therefore necessary to regularly consume foods that are rich in this vitamin in order to maintain normal levels.

The most common symptoms indicating a folate deficiency are fatigue, headaches, pale skin and a painful tongue. Here are some of the causes of this condition:

  • Insufficient intake of vitamin B9
  • Long term alcoholism
  • Significant blood-loss


Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for folate (mcg / day)

Males Females
Children 1-3 y 150 mcg 150 mcg
Children 4-8 y 200 mcg 200 mcg
Children 9-13 y 300 mcg 300 mcg
Teenagers 14-18 y 400 mcg 400 mcg
Adults >19 y 400 mcg 400 mcg
600 mcg*
500 mcg

*If you are pregnant or looking to conceive, it is advisable to take a vitamin B9 (folic acid) supplement to prevent neural tube malformations. Learn more >>

Meal Plans for Pregnancy

Nutritional Strategies

Sources of folate like citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds should be favored in your diet to avoid vitamin B9 deficiency. In some cases, a folic acid supplement may be necessary.

If you suffer from a vitamin B9 deficiency, your levels of vitamin B12 should also be checked, because certain people also suffer from low levels of this vitamin. Both conditions can cause similar symptoms.

Practical Tips

  • Eat vitamin B9 rich foods, like green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.
  • Folates contained in foods are sensitive to heat. Avoid cooking foods too much and opt for cooking methods that limit nutrient loss, like pressure cooking, steaming, oven-baking or microwaving.
  • If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, take a folic acid supplement.

Dietary Sources of Vitamin B9

Foods Portion Content (mcg)
Breakfast cereal, corn flakes 330 ml
(1 1/3 cups)
Lentils 250 ml
(1 cup)
Veal liver, sautéed 90 g 288
Asparagus 250 ml
(1 cup)
Enriched macaroni, cooked 250 ml
(1 cup)
Brussels Sprouts 250 ml
(1 cup)
Orange Juice 125 ml
(1/2 cup)


Here are 3 recipes high in vitamin B9 :

Quick Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Quick Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry




Marie-Maxime Bergeron
Changing eating habits gradually and adapting to the needs of my clients is the cornerstone of my approach. Eating well for fun and for health is the goal and everything begins with a return to simplicity in our habits. I am a nutritionist and have offered counselling in nutrition for 10 years.

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