You will still see Folic acid (B9) listed on the label of many well known brands of vitamin supplements. Those that are In the know in the nutrition community know that folic acid, the synthetic form of folate has been known for several years to cause problems in over 60% of the population. The reason for this is that there is a genetic variation in a gene called MTHFR that is in about 30-35% of the population. Those that have this genetic variation are able to assimilate or neutralize folic acid by converting it to the active form. Those that don’t cannot convert the synthetic version of folate allowing excess free radicals to increases cancer and disease risk.
Medically sounding websites like medicinenet.com talk about the benefits of folic acid without even alluding to the fact that this synthetic vitamin can cause problems for many. Some websites even say “Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on this date”. One website goes so far as to state “Folic acid is one of the B vitamins found in foods such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, and peas”. Then goes on to say that a synthetic form is found in dietary supplements and fortified foods.
To set the record straight, folic acid is the synthetic form used in dietary supplements, period. The term folate is actually a broad term that also includes folic acid. The natural form of folate is found in foods such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, and peas, liver and egg yolks. Since 1998 the US government mandates that all enriched grain products—white bread and flour, pasta and rice be fortified with folic acid (another good reason to avoid grains).
After glancing over the ingredients on several popular brands at my local health food store I observed folic acid being the B9 on almost every one of them.
This knowledge has been known for long enough that vitamin manufacturers should have jumped on correcting this; but sadly the evidence shows that folic acid as a cheap synthetic ingredient with harmful consequences is still being used in many supplements. To complicate matters further the FDA is up to more labeling shenanigans. and wants to limit all supplements to synthetic folic acid only.
If you are buying vitamins and it says “folic acid” in the B9 column then choose a different one. Look for whole foods derived folate, “L 5 methyl-tetrahydrofolate” or “5 formyl tetrahydrofolate”, or “folinic acid or simply 5-MTHF.
We are all evolving. Learning the details such as this are all part of the evolution of humans. Yes, folic acid has helped many, but those are the ones who had the genetic capability to assimilate it. Think of the many that folic acid has and will do permanent damage to.
Interested in knowing if your genes contain this mutation or polymorphism (test positive for MFTHR)? This saliva test, once interpreted can reveal so much information about you and can be used for a lifetime of smart choices. genetic testing