Folic Acid or Folate, also known as Vitamin B 9, is one of the B vitamins that leads to many health benefits. Most people know that it prevents neural tube birth defects, so expectant mothers and those planning families are often recommended to take it. There is also recent evidence that folic acid can reduce cognitive decline. It has also been found to turn off the production of beta-amyloid proteins, which accumulate to form plaques in the brain which leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Folate also reduces inflammation and homocysteine:
Other common diseases that may be reduced or prevented with proper folic acid nutrition or supplementation include:
- Cardiac Disease
- Chronic Fatigue
- Gut and Digestive issues, such as IBS
- Hormonal issues including PCOS
- Infertility, for both men and women
Psychiatric issues including Depression and Schizophrenia
Folic Acid is found in many foods including Broccoli, asparagus, spinach and brussels sprouts. If we eat these foods raw, and uncooked the folic acid will not be denatured and the food will retain its nutrition.
The bioactive form of Folate is called 5-MTHF (5-methyltetrahydrofolate) and in order for the natural occurring Folic Acid to convert to its bioactive form, there are several enzymatic steps that must occur. An individual must have a fully functioning MTHFR gene in order for these pathways to be effective. Unfortunately, up to 50% of the population has a gene that can decrease the activity of MTHFR. This means that in order to know if you are getting benefits you must be genetically tested. Those who are found to be low, can increase their supplementation or opt to supplement with the bio-available version in order to gain the benefits.
-In conclusion Folic Acid is not only for young women or expectant mothers anymore, it has been found to have many other health benefits.
-A significant portion of the population may have a MTHFR mutation, which can lead folic acid to be ineffective in those individuals.
-Only those tested can know if they are affected by this, in order to make the best decisions for their personal health.