Folate or Folic Acid?
Friday, 28 January 2022
January is National Birth Defect Awareness month & also today is the final week of National Folic Acid Awareness Week. This is a crucial B vitamin (B9) that is especially important to women who are either pregnant or may become pregnant.
Folate or Folic acid are they one of the same? Although they are often used interchangeably, they are quite different.
Folate is essential for DNA production, correct cell division, activating B12 and supporting the synthesis of the master methyl donor SAMe for healthy mood and joints. In pregnancy, folate and other B vitamins help to reduce the risk of spinal bifida.
Folate from the diet has to jump through a number of hoops (that are enzymes, coded for by genes) to be converted into a usable ACTIVE ⭐️ form - methylfolate (5-MTHF) - which can only then be used by our cells to perform these functions.
These genes are highly vulnerable to glitches, termed SNPs which impact their efficiency, put another way any SNP along the production line is going to impact getting to the end of the production line.
So, SNPS, environmental factors like poor diet, smoking, chemicals alcohol (that hampers gene expression) and nutrient depletions, especially if all combined can and do make a significant difference:
So what can you do? There are different ways to optimise your Folate intake and it’s bio availability:
There are many other enzymes in the folate production process, open to genetic variations, which increase one's susceptibility to low folate levels. And even without genetic mutations these pathways need the rights nutrients (B2, B3, B6, B12, choline, zinc & betaine).
MORE is most definitely not better, slow and steady with any form of supplemental “folate”. Methyltetrahydrofolate is the most active but potent, so always work with a professional that knows YOUR case and understands nutrigenomics.