Wait… Folic Acid isn’t good for you!?
You have probably heard more times than you care to remember that Folic Acid is good for you. Especially if you are a woman of child-bearing age. You hear that you need to make sure you are getting enough so that you protect against birth defects in your unborn child. That sounds like a really good thing, right?
Well, the truth is that Folate, or B9 IS really important to everyone, and especially to developing babies. But, Folic Acid is a cheap, synthetic imposter. In fact, estimates suggest that 30-50% of the population is running around with a genetic variant (MTHFR) where their body can not effectively break down folic acid. Because of this, something called Homocysteine accumulates, which is a marker of inflammation. Not only that, but high levels of this synthetic folic acid have also been linked to higher rates of miscarriage because even people who don’t have the genetic variant usually don’t tolerate this synthetic version very well either. It’s actually not good for anyone!
So, if you have this variant, you can not clear the folic acid, you accumulate homocysteine and then you feel stiff and achy. I have seen this mis-diagnosed as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and other similar conditions, like Fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, if it is diagnosed as an autoimmune condition (like RA), the treatment prescribed is usually an immune suppressive drug which opens to door to so many other problems because the immune system is weakened. Not only that, it does nothing to fix the real problem!
So, what do you do if you think this may be affecting you? I like to start by having someone eliminate folic acid. This includes supplements and in foods. Check labels. It is usually listed, but can be assumed to be in anything that is “Enriched or Fortified”. You should notice a difference in 1-2 weeks. The stiff and achy feeling gets better. If that happens to you, you might be affected by this MTHFR variant. You can have a simple blood or cheek swab test done to know if you have it and whether you have one gene or both effected. Since this is a genetic condition, you children may also be effected and one or both of your parents will be effected as well since that’s where it came from. This information can be helpful to know also, because this is a methylation defect which means your detoxification pathways can be compromised. This can leave you vulnerable to many things, including cancer. There are preventative steps you will want to be taking to make sure you detoxifying as best as you can.
Eliminating the folic acid is part of the equation. The other part is to make sure you get plenty of methylated B vitamins (the kind your body can actually break down). I have a good multi I use with methylated B vitamins or I can recommend a B only version if for some reason we don’t want what is in the multi vitamin. It’s important to make sure you get these vitamins in the right form because they are co-factors in all kinds of chemical reactions that happen inside your body that keep your healthy. In fact, I can’t think of a good reason for anyone to take or eat anything with folic acid in it, so I recommend this form of vitamins to everyone.
If you have questions, please reach out to me and I’ll be happy to help! For that information, please see www.DrJeni.com