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Why Everything Containing Folic Acid Belongs in the Trash!

metabolism mthfr nutrition Jun 10, 2017

Back in the 1990’s the discovery that folates could prevent neural tube defects in babies became the impetus for folic acid, an inexpensive form of folate, to be added to grain and cereal products as well as becoming a universal ingredient in prenatal vitamins and other dietary supplements. While this change did lessen the occurrence of neural tube defects, it also coincided with an increase in many health other conditions.

According to Dr. Ben Lynch, Director of the Seeking Health Educational Institute (website , over 44% of the population carries the MTHFR gene polymorphism, which can lead to having adverse reactions to plain old cheap folic acid. According to Dr. Lynch nobody should take folic acid because it is difficult to metabolize for almost everyone causing toxic byproducts from a complex array of biochemical reactions. These reactions can cause an increase in cancer risk and growth, autoimmune issues, and mood instability as well as a possible increase in birth defects in genetically susceptible individuals.

Dr. Lynch also has a theory (which is currently being researched ) that the increase rates of children born on the autism spectrum is connected to folic acid supplementation .   The spike in autism started to occur in the 1990’s when folic acid was added to many grain based items (breads and cereals) as well as ALL prenatal vitamins. Many if not most pregnant women in the developed world had extreme exposure to Folic Acid through universally prescribed prenatal vitamins. This has very important and severe repercussions as one can imagine!

So DITCH the folic acid, but not the folates! Healthy mixed dietary folates are a necessary nutrient in the diet and can be found in dark leafy green veggies such as kale, spinach, chard, and collard greens. This is the best way to get your folates. Through FOOD, not a supplement which may have been toxic to many people! Folates support the immune system, offer cellular protection, prevent neural tube defects, and help with serum lipid and inflammation control, whereas folic acid can increase cancer rates, can have a negative impact on neurotramsmitters affecting mood and mental/emotional stability as well as wreaks havoc on the immune system.

If you DO need more folates in your diet and need to supplement, make sure that you are using the bioactive form such as folinase, or L-5-Methylfolate. Even this form can have adverse effects if taken in too high a dose so be sure to work with a naturopathic doctor of Functional Medicine doc such as myself to make sure that you are dosing it properly and balancing it with the proper nutrients. Even taking too much L-5-methylfolate alone and out of balance with other targeted nutrients can cause mood instability and other issues. So ALWAYS work with a qualified practitioner!

Better yet, get the genetic test to see if you carry the MTHFr mutation and other SNPs which may cause wackiness in your biochemical pathways if you don’t take supplements in a proper balance for your unique biochemistry. MTHFr testing is also very important if you and your partner are planning to conceive. These tests are available at labs like Labcorp, but I usually recommend the 23andme genetic test or Strategene where you can analyze the raw data through special platforms that will show genetic markers!

If you would like to test whether you have the MTHFr mutation and determine the best supplement regimen for your individual needs, I am offering this service. This is useful whether you are currently working with me, have worked with me in the past but it has been a while since we have connected, or are brand new to my practice. If you have any questions, you can schedule a FREE 15 minute phone consult here at or go ahead and book your appointment with me to discuss your options. I am looking forward to hearing from you!


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