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Folic Acid & L-5-MTHFR


What’s the difference between folate and folic acid?

Folate is a generalized term for a group of water soluble b-vitamins, and is also known as B9.

Folic acid refers to the oxidized synthetic pharmaceutical that is added to processed foods and dietary supplements for “food fortification”.

Folate refers to any variety of tetrahydrofolate derivatives naturally found in food.

Science has well established that adequate folate intake from the consumption of folate-rich foods is essential for health. Folate aids the complete development of red blood cells, reduces levels of homocysteine in the blood, and supports proper nervous system development and function.

Tetrahydrofolate (THF) is the useable form of folate the cells need for their functions.   Natural folates, found in foods, are utilized in the small intestine.  Folic acid must undergo initial reduction and methylation in the liver, and then converted to the THF form; this requires a specific enzyme absent or impaired in up to 60% of the population. The low activity of this enzyme in the human liver, combined with a high intake of folic acid, may result in elevated levels of un-metabolized folic acid entering the systemic circulation; Leading to a whole host of health problems plaguing modern society.

Human exposure to folic acid was non-existent until its chemical synthesis in 1943. Upon the addition of synthetic folic acid to food by government mandate in 1989, the US has seen a rise in autism, infertility, autoimmune disease and cancers. Research has reported the presence of un-metabolized folic acid in the blood following the consumption of folic acid supplements or fortified foods. The presence of un-metabolized folic acid in the blood is associated with decreased natural killer cytotoxicity. Natural killer cells aid in tumor cell destruction, which implies that excess folic acid, may promote existing premalignant and malignant lesions.

Other issues with a high intake of folic acid, include, un-metabolized folic acid could mask a vitamin B12 deficiency which can harm central nervous system function. Many studies have shown association between elevated folic acid, low B12 and cognitive decline.

Excellent sources of dietary folate include green vegetables, beets, and lentils. The highest levels of folate are found in duck and calf liver…chooses organic of course if you indulge.

The Importance of avoiding Folic Acid

Modern science has shown us recently that supplementation or over supplementation does not mitigate or negate the potential damage we know synthetic folic acid can cause. We now know that supplementing with the proper forms of Methylated B vitamins can help restore health. It has been shown that most individuals with “MTHFR family” family mutations will likely tolerate small amounts (estimated as 100-200 mcg weekly) in enriched foods. However high amounts of folic acid in supplements AND enriched and fortified foods can be detrimental to health.  The following are the exact pathways affected by high dose folic acid.

Folic Acid Inhibits DHFR (dihydrofolate reductase) Gene-

DHFR gene is implicated in cervical adenocarcinoma

Folic acid can build up in the cell leading to un-metabolized folic acid and immune dysfunction. Un-metabolized folic acid is problematic for women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

Evidence shows increased possibility of conceiving multiple embryos; leading to a      higher rate of risk and possible loss

In Patients with Coronary artery disease and Stent placement un-metabolized folic acid can cause inflammation and stent occlusion Patients being treated for malaria, arthritis, psoriasis, and cancers,  un-metabolized folic acid may reduce the response to related anti-folate drugs Ireland reported that un-metabolized folic acid is detected in cord blood from infants at birth including full-term and premature infants. A report shows that aged female mice fed with diet containing high folic acid have significantly lower number of natural killer (NK) cells in their spleens with decreased cytotoxicity immune function. MTHFR deficiency may amplify cancer risk. Folic Acid Blocks Natural Folates

Causing a MTHFR deficiency which results in liver cell destruction and those cells lose their ability to accommodate lipid disturbance resulting in changes in phospholipid / lipid metabolism and altered membrane integrity.

Why is The Methylation Important?

The methylation cycle is important because it takes the nutrients from our food (and supplements) and utilizes them to make the energy our bodies need to work optimally. It also supports the manufacturing of healthy cells and neurotransmitters. Methylation is a key component in the removal of toxins and foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. When methylation is optimal, the body is full of energy, When it is poor or impaired, your body will feel  fatigued, depressed, irritable, susceptible to infections, and achy.

Proper methylation is important for mitochondrial function and energy production. Low mitochondrial function and low methylation can lead to low energy, low thyroid function, decreased memory, and Lyme disease to name a few. Poor methylation can cause

Low neurotransmitter levels, which can lead to anxiety and depression, Poor  immune function, which lead to high incidence of allergies, asthma, and eczema as well as a higher probability of bacterial infections Poor liver detoxification, which impairs toxin removal Problematic fertility, including risk of miscarriage, and neural tube defects

There is a delicate balance to methylation and all pieces must be working properly for the optimal result. Th