The benefits of folic acid, or “folate” are numerous. So it’s unfortunate that such a large proportion of the population is deficient in this vital nutrient. Low levels of folic acid can lead to anemia, kidney and liver complications, etc., as well as an inability to absorb nutrients in general.
Folate enjoys wide consumption as a way to prevent certain types of cancers, heart issues, stroke, hearing and memory loss, gum infections, osteoporosis, depression and more. It’s been used as a treatment for alcoholism. Expectant mothers take it to prevent miscarriage and birth defects.
In a press release issued today, Barbara Griffin, NMD, CNC, Certified Gluten Practitioner, and owner of Vital Health, Inc. suggests “L-MethylFolate” to be the preferred form of folate ingestion due to long-standing absorption issues associated with other methods.
“L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF) is the predominate form of folate. L-5-MTHF is a reduced, metabolically active form of folate that occurs naturally in foods and is the primary form of folate found in the blood and tissues,” Griffin says in the report. “As a result, it is far more effective for people who have or are prone to a folic acid deficiency.”
Just as every rose has it’s thorn, so have there been reported downsides to adding folate to your vitamin regimen. Some studies have linked it to increasing the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Contrary evidence released today sheds a ray of hope on the subject. A study, conducted by Stein Emil Vollset, MD, from the University of Bergen in Norway, receives analysis in this Health.com article.
“The study provides reassurance about the safety of folic acid intake, either from supplements or through fortification, when taken for up to five years,” study author Robert Clarke, from the University of Oxford, said in a journal news release.
Bread: Folate rich since 1993. Click for info on the healthiest types. | Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
As with everything of nutritional value, folic acid is found in an assortment of fruits and veggies. For the past 15 years, federal law has required carb manufacturers to add folic acid—a water soluble ‘B’ vitamin—to their products. These days everything from flour, and breads, to pastas, cereals, cookies and crackers is flush with folate.
Still, there simply is no substitute for the real thing. Not only is folate obtained via natural foods more efficiently absorbed, but the risks associated with supplement intake is nullified.
Naturally high Folate foods:
Mmmm… broccoli… Click for broccoli-rich, side dish recipes from allrecipes.com. | Image courtesy of Toa55 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Orange juice
- Tomato juice