Why would a nutritionist say Folic Acid causes heart disease, miscarriage, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes?

When you think of Folic Acid, you may think of your medical doctor recommending this vitamin during pregnancy to make sure your baby develops its brain and nervous system correctly and doesn’t have any neural tube defects(NTD). For many years it’s been commonly recommended for this purpose, to the point that some women get anxious if they feel their Folic Acid levels are low.

But what if this common recommendation and common knowledge was all wrong? What if, instead of helping your baby’s brain and nervous system, to develop, it caused an abortion instead?


That’s exactly what the science of genetics is now indicating. The affects of supplementing with and/or consuming foods fortified with folic acid is a serious public health threat that for all intents and purposes is going unnoticed by both the public and mainstream medical doctors.


Folic Acid is a synthetic form of folate and requires several steps for the body to metabolize it into the usable form called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHF). Take a look at the chart below.


folic acid metabolism

Looks pretty darn complicated, right? It is!

Do you notice that it requires several other vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and B6, for your body to complete this metabolic process?

It’s pretty common for people to have B12 deficiency now days that go undiagnosed for many years. For instance, one of the most common factors in having a B12 deficiency is taking acid blocking medications. A deficiency in any of these vitamins would inhibit the metabolism of folic acid into methylfolate and at the same time cause an increase of UMFA.

UMFA or unmetabolized folic acid, leaves elevated levels of this synthetic vitamin just floating around in your blood. This can cause a competition between the synthetic, unmetabolized folic acid and methylfolate, the active form, for the same cell receptor or ‘gateway’.

But take a look also at all the genes that are involved in this process. What happens if any of those genes have a mutation?

Well, a mutation in the methylenetetrahydrofolate (MTHFR) reductase gene can cause no symptoms at all. Or, it can also cause irreversible health conditions such as Down’s syndrome. And the ingestion of synthetic Folic Acid can greatly accelerate problems with this gene as greater amounts of the MTHF enzyme are required to reduce the synthetic folic acid.

To date, there are 64 known health conditions caused by mutations in the MTHFR gene.



What Specifically Does The MTHFR Gene Do?


Put extremely simply, the MTHFR gene is responsible for creating the MTHFR enzyme. When there is a mutation in the gene, then the enzyme’s structure is abnormal, causing the enzyme to get ‘stuck’ in the cell receptors it’s trying to activate. It would be similar to sticking a key that fit into a lock but didn’t unlock it, thereby getting stuck in the process.

This entire process is for the body to reduce dietary folate into 5-MTHF or bioavailable methylfolate.

Recent research has found that one of the more common problems caused by synthetic folic acid is liver dysfunction. This is due to the fact that the majority of the metabolic process of synthetic folic acid to methylfolate (if it’s indeed possible for the individual) occurs in the liver.


Should I stop taking synthetic folic acid or consuming foods fortified with it?


In my opinion, yes. Until you are tested for the MTHFR gene mutations, it’s better to error on the side of caution than create more problems down the road.


 Should I start taking Methylfolate supplements?

 Not necessarily. Taking a MTHF supplement without knowing if there are any other deficiencies in the metabolic process is asking for trouble. Also, taking the wrong dose of MTHF supplementation can GREATLY increase the symptoms you’re already experiencing.

It’s also important to know that there are many MTHF supplements that are on the market that are the wrong molecular form and will cause issues similar to what has been previously explained.

If I didn’t listen and took it anyway, how would I know it was a problem?

As I mentioned above, the most common reaction is an increase of symptoms. You can also experience joint pain, unexplained panic or anxiety and extreme aggression and irritability. It could increase homocysteine levels, putting you at risk for heart disease.

So what should I do?

First of all, get tested to see if you have this gene mutation. The tests are available from several places, such as www.23andme.com.

Second, find a competent clinician who is well versed in MTHFR gene mutations to both interpret the results for you and guide you to your road of recovery.

Third, follow their recommendations on both diet and supplementation to the letter. There is a great deal involved in correctly aiding persons with this gene mutation and over-simplifying the issues, such as thinking that you only need to avoid synthetic folic acid and take methylated B vitamins, is a mistake that risks your health.

The recommendation of Folic Acid supplementation is outdated, especially for expectant mothers. If you currently have a medical doctor that has recommended that you supplement with this synthetic vitamin, you may seriously want to consider finding a more up-to-date practitioner.


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