Perhaps you’ve heard about the debate raging over folate vs folic acid, and wanted to find out what the big deal was? Both folate and folic acid are vitamin B9, an essential part of foods that we eat on a daily basis. But Folic acid is a man-made, synthetic version of folate. This folic acid is often found supplemented in common foods we buy like flour and cereal. While natural folate is found in leafy vegetables we will find in the produce aisle. Both are great at getting this important vitamin into our bodies, but who you are will determine which choice you should make when looking for the health benefits that digesting more vitamin B9 will bring. I’ve compiled some great research into the subject in the following article titled Folate vs folic acid: what is the difference?
Folate (vitamin B9) is significant in the red blood cells development and for the healthy function and growth. The nutrient is vital during the early pregnancy for decreasing the birth defects risk of the spine and brain. Folate can mainly be found in the dark green leafy veggies, peas, beans and nuts. Fruits which are rich in folate comprise lemons, oranges, melons, bananas, and strawberries. Folate’s synthetic form is folic acid. It is in a necessary part of prenatal vitamins and is in a lot of fortified foods like pastas and cereals. A diet lacking food which is rich in folic acid or folate can lead to a folate insufficiency. This deficiency can also happen in individuals who have conditions like celiac disease, that stop the small intestine from taking up the different nutrients from foods (malabsorption syndromes).
Vitamin B9 can be discovered as the synthetic form which is the folic acid that emerges in a lot of fortified foods and vitamin supplements or the naturally happening form found in the foods, which is folate. Both of the synthetic and the majority of the food-derived form of folate that we eat have to be converted through a natural enzyme pathway in the body to the final bioactive form known as L-methylfolate which is also recognized as 5-MTHF. Once the MTHF is made, this active B9 form can go into the cells and intersect the blood brain barrier for assisting in nourishing the brains and tissues. The successful conversion from folate or folic acid to MTHF is reliant on the converting enzyme recognized as MTHFR. Unluckily, the gene variations to the enzyme are quite frequent that can impact between twenty-five to sixty percent of the population. When the converting enzyme doesn’t work well because of the generic mutation, the folate and folic acid’s conversion to the active vitamin B9 form is inhibited. The inadequate vitamin B9 levels can direct to the increased risk not just for the neural birth tube defect described before, but also for the infertility ad miscarriage.
This is an especially important topic for women, and women who are, or are trying to become pregnant. Anyone considering pregnancy should look into the health benefits of taking a specific kind of B9. In fact, it is because while the folic acid supplements get much buzz as the prenatal must-have, the folic acid might not be the most perfect folate form of the body to utilize. The body can not only accept the folic acid as it is, it’s to get through the conversion process into the form known as MTHF or Methyltrahydrofolate, for the user to make use of it. But believe it or not, about 40% of the ladies have generic variants that make it even more hard for the folic acid to really go through the conversion process.