Man-made molecules do funny unpredictable things because they don’t work with our normal biochemical pathways. Nature made molecules we have consumed for millennia work with our bodies.
The fortification of our food supply with folic acid in 1998 reduced spina bifida birth defects by 19%. A good thing. But by some estimates it may have caused an additional 15,000 cancers deaths a year.
On the other hand, the nature made form or forms called “folates” do not seem to cause problems. This molecule is often found in foliage – dark green leafy vegetables, hence the name folate. This can enter your normal biochemical pathways and gets properly metabolized.
The man-made folic acid may not be converted or metabolized by the body increasing cancer and disease risk. The excess folic acid becomes oxidized and promotes free radical production and genetic instability leading to cancer and other disease. 35% of us have a genetic variation in a gene called MTHFR that helps neutralize the folic acid. Those who have this gene are at increased risk of colon cancer because they produce more pre-cancerous colon polyps. High dose folate supplementation in these people reduced their risk of polyps.
The good news is that you can take the nature made form of this nutrient – it is called methyl-folate (and there are a few forms of that too). This is what should be in food and vitamin supplements. Many contentious companies are now using only this form of the nutrient, but is more expensive.
Here’s what you should do:
Don’t eat fortified foods!! If it needs to be fortified with folic acid, that is because it has been impoverished and refined in the first place – white flour, white rice, cereals, and processed foods. Just eat real, whole fresh food!
Look at your supplement label! If it says “folic acid” then find another vitamin that has the words “ L 5 methyl-tetrahydrofolate or 5 formyl tetrahydrofolate” on the label.
Folate and its companions B6 and B12 are the most critical and health promoting hit parades in the nutrient world.
Get more Bs in your diet. Good food sources include sunflower seeds and wheat germ (vitamin B6); fish and eggs (vitamin B6 and B12); cheese (B12); beans and walnuts (vitamin B6 and folate); leafy dark green vegetables; asparagus, almonds, and whole grains (folate); and liver (all three).Foods containing Folic acid
Black Eyed Beans
Tinned Baked Beans
Tomatoes &Tomato Juice