What’s the difference between folate and folic acid?
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive concerns Folate and Folic acid. Many individuals are wondering which to avoid and which to incorporate into diets and supplement regimen. This article is going to set the record straight.
The terms folate and folic acid are often used interchangeably by doctors and nutritionists, but they are not the same!
One of the most important things we tell people who have been recently diagnosed with an MTHFR mutation is to remove folic acid from their food. Folic acid can be sneaky and is found in many different types of foods and supplements. It’s in most things, by design. Because it was the way of making sure pregnant women had more vitamins.
The scoop on folic acid
In the 1990s, a fair number of pregnant women were giving birth to children who had hearing loss and other neural tube defects affecting the spine and brain of the baby. A large percentage of these women had low vitamin levels, more specifically low folate levels.
Folate is a B vitamin and is essential for many reasons. Folate is critical in supporting the energy cycle, and the energy cycle makes detoxifiers and methyl groups. Scientists and researchers discovered that these neural tube defects could be avoided with the simple addition of folate into the diet. However, the problem was that folate is largely in leafy green vegetables which don’t have much of a shelf life. Meaning that if you are living in a place without many fruits and vegetables, such as a food desert, you won’t have access to those essential vitamins. In addition, if you are fortunate enough to live by a grocery store and can shop routinely for vegetables, they tend to be costly and they don’t last very long. Vegetables are hard to stock up on.
Folic acid was added into certain foods.
Vegetables were going bad quickly, people weren’t consuming enough vitamins, and the idea of supplementing vitamins in food came about. This sparked a government regulation that went into effect in the late 1990s to add folic acid to many of the foods pregnant women consumed.
Folate is the actual B vitamin. Folic acid is the synthetic version of a vitamin. If you have an MTHFR mutation, you cannot properly break down folic acid. Many MTHFR related symptoms result from toxicity caused by an overload of unmetabolized folic acid. When a body has more folic acid than folate, and if they have MTHFR then they will become symptomatic. This unmetabolized folic acid, creates toxicity and commonly creates symptoms of brain fog, poor focus, poor concentration, mood swings, and disrupted sleep.
What foods contain folic acid?
Most foods that would be eaten by a mom or by a young child is likely going to be enriched with folic acid. Common examples include cereals (oatmeal, cream of wheat), rice, bread, and pasta. If the package says enriched, it most likely contains folic acid.
What can you do to get rid of built-up folic acid and toxins within the body?
- Clean those toxins out with a liver detox. MTHFR mutations cause an inability to make adequate methylation. Methylation is essential for detoxification resulting in the inability to clear toxins from the body leading to an overload of toxicity. Detoxification is critical to being healthy with MTHFR mutations because it helps get out chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, folic acid, and all the bad things that we put into our bodies. A toxic body creates many of the symptoms associated with MTHFR mutations such as migraines, hot flashes, weight gain, fatigue, skin problems, anxiety, nausea, and inflammation.
- Add Methyl Folate, Methyl B12, and B6 into your supplement regimen. Remember it’s necessary to take/eat an active form of folate. Methyl folate helps the body create methyl groups which are used for detoxification. Biome IQ’s Pure Methylation is the combination of 3 B Vitamins: B12, B6, and Folate and adheres to the same ratio that the mitochondrial cycle prefers with the already reduced form of the vitamin folate. This means it’s easy to absorb if you have MTHFR mutations.
Looking to detoxify? Click here to learn more about BiomeIQ’s Detox P5.0, a 2 phase liver detoxification, and metabolic formula. Before supplementing, it’s beneficial to rid the body of toxins first. Doing so reduces inflammation, symptoms of toxicity, and allows vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to work more efficiently within the body.
Questions? Set up an appointment to speak one on one with our MTHFR Experts! We offer free 15-minute consultation phone calls. Click here to schedule an appointment.