When folic acid might be doing more harm than good in your body.
You probably know that 1 of the most important vitamins you both need for fertility is “folic acid”. However, what you might not know, is that due to a gene mutation not everyone can utilise the folic acid found in common prenatal supplements and high-street multi-vitamins. In fact, this form of folic acid could be hindering your chances of falling pregnant.
The gene in question is the MTHFR gene which controls how well your body makes the activated form of folate; if this gene is being expressed (as either C677T or A1298C) it can reduce your body’s ability to make this nutrient by 40 – 60%.
Methyl-folate is the active form of folate that your body actually works with for numerous processes, and particularly to help protect against neural-tube defects and to avoid premature birth or low birth weight.
It’s crucial for the early cell-division in an embryo, particularly during the first 10 weeks of conception. Most spontaneous miscarriages occur before many women even know that they are pregnant and research has shown a strong link between a deficiency of folate and recurrent miscarriages.
Choosing a stand-alone methyl-folate supplement is not necessarily the answer for everybody as there are lots of other important nutrients that all work together. A good place to start is to take a prenatal supplement that contains calcium folinate rather than folic acid.
If you are trying to get pregnant and have a history of recurrent miscarriages, elevated homocysteine levels or a family history of heart disease, particularly of someone dying at a relatively young age from a heart attack or stroke you might like to talk to your GP to see if you can get tested for this gene and/or homocysteine.
What you can do straightaway:
- Increase your intake of dietary folates found in spinach and other leafy greens, asparagus, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens and turnips.
- Avoid supplements and fortified foods that state “folic acid” on the label.
- Eat a wholefood diet and avoid take-aways and pre-prepared meals.
- Choose certified organic, grass-fed beef, free range, hormone free and antibiotic meats and eggs.
- Make sure you are drinking 2 litres of filtered water daily.
The information provided in this website is of a general nature only. It is not intended to replace or substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any health concerns should be discussed with your medical practitioner or other healthcare professional.