Everyone Needs Folate To be Healthy, But It Is Especially Important For Women!
Look at a multivitamin or B complex at most grocery, big box or drug stores. You’ll see B vitamins with such names as folic acid, cyanocobalamin and pyridoxine hydrochloride. This stuff is synthetic junk for many of us because our body’s can’t process it and infer any nutritional benefit from it.
Studies have shown that nearly half of all people cannot effectively metabolize synthetic Folic Acid nor natural Folate unless it is in the activated coenzymated form—Methyl Folate ((6S)-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate MTHF).
This metabolization problem extends to other B vitamins as well. It’s why doctors administer B12 shots and why we promote sublingual methylcobalamin B12 (dissolving tablets of the active form of B12 under the tongue.)
Have carpal tunnel? Ditch synthetic pyridoxine hydrochloride vitamin B6 and reach for the active P-5-P (pyridoxal-5-phosphate) form. We’ve heard about people being able to cancel carpal tunnel surgeries after prolonged use of this amazing form of vitamin B6. In fact, one of our owners, Rob, uses it routinely for tennis elbow!
But for now, let’s focus on folate and the people who need it most—women…
Women & Folate
Rob was telling me how excited he got the other day when a woman came in the store and told him her doctor recommended that she take natural folate rather than synthetic folic acid. We’re so used to the opposite interaction, where a doctor with good intentions sends someone in for an inferior and poorly absorbed form of a vitamin or mineral. Supplementation is a science and just like other scientific fields, huge advancements have been made over the decades. It’s exciting to see health care professionals taking heed of impressive and growing research that shows that calcium carbonate and folic acid aren’t the best recommendations!
Here are a couple of big reasons why doctors recommend that women take folate:
Before and during pregnancy: Folate protects unborn children against serious birth defects called neural tube defects. These birth defects happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she is pregnant. Folate might also help prevent other types of birth defects and early pregnancy loss (miscarriage).
Since about half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, experts recommend all women get enough folate even if they are not trying to get pregnant.
To keep the blood healthy by helping red blood cells form and grow: You’ve probably seen folate along with vitamin B12 added to many iron supplements. That’s because both of these B vitamins play a crucial role in red blood cell formation.
For instance, not getting enough folate can lead to folate-deficiency anemia also known as megaloblastic anemia. This deficiency causes the body to produce abnormally large red blood cells that cannot function properly. There are fewer of these cells and they are misshapen (oval-shaped instead of round). Sometimes these malformed red blood cells don’t live as long as normal red blood cells. Folate-deficiency anemia is more common in women of childbearing age than in men.
The Final Nail In The Coffin For Folic Acid
Not only is folic acid poorly metabolized, robbing women of the much needed health benefits, but high intake of folic acid can even lead to increased blood levels of unmetabolized folic acid. This is due to common gene mutations that result in difficulty converting folic acid into biologically active folate. Researchers speculate that this unconverted folic acid buildup may have adverse health effects over time.
Who Needs A Folate Supplement?
You don’t necessarily have to run out and buy a folate supplement. Just make sure your multivitamin or B complex contains active, coenzymated forms of all your B vitamins including folate. Two really good patented and well-studied forms of folate are Metafolin® and Quatrefolic® or just look for Methyl Folate on the label.
You can find these optimal forms in Natural Factors Active B Complex, Emerald Labs Coenzymated Complete Multivitamins and MegaFood Men’s and Women’s Over 55 Multis!