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Folate vs. Folic acid

Posted by on Oct. 1, 2013 at 9:18 PM
  • 7 Replies

So my prenatal I am taking now contains folic acid, but I just bought a new organic whole foods prenatal that contains folate. I have read that folate is the natural form and folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Everything I have read says that folate is better, but I have read a few articles that say folic acid is absorbed better by the body... does anyone have anymore knowledge about this?

by on Oct. 1, 2013 at 9:18 PM
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Replies (1-7):
Jenn8604
by Member on Oct. 1, 2013 at 9:21 PM
Would it hurt to take both? Can you OD on prenatals
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smurfy88
by Jessica on Oct. 1, 2013 at 9:22 PM

I know once pregnant you don't want too much Vitamin A. The reason I am switching prenatals is because my old one has red raspberry leaf in it and i've read that it is not good in the first trimester. 


Quoting Jenn8604:

Would it hurt to take both? Can you OD on prenatals



Rota
by Member on Oct. 3, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Folate is the form of vitamin B found in foods. Folic acid is the form found in supplements. The body utilizes them the same way. However, a lot of multivitamins ( including prenatals) have the folic acid compressed inside the hard core tablet and that is what the body has a hard time digesting to even get to the folic acid. Shaklee puts their folic acid as a coating on the outside of their multivitamin which makes it readily available.  Hope that clarifies things for you. If you want to go the "natural" route, make sure that the company has not used a heat process to get the vitamin as that will destroy it.  They can still claim "natural" and they can still claim that x  amount is in the tablet ( at the time of manufacture).

athorne
by Member on Oct. 3, 2013 at 1:35 PM
I took a multi vitamin and Folic Acid. I have a prescription for Folic Acid because my seizure medications have been know to cause birth defects such as cleft pallets in some babies.
Alyson121
by Alyson on Oct. 8, 2013 at 12:18 AM

Folate 


Folate is involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and critical enzymatic reactions throughout the body. By depleting excess homocysteine, folate benefits cardiovascular health and nervous system function.

Those who take ordinary folate supplements, however, may not be experiencing its full spectrum of effects. This is because once ingested, not everyone converts folate to its biologically active form called  5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).190 Research shows that in a large proportion of the population, genetic enzyme deficiencies prevent the conversion of folate to 5-MTHF, leaving many vulnerable to low blood folate levels (and higher than desired homocysteine).

A more useful approach is to take the bioactive folate 5-MTHF directly, which has been declassified as a drug and is now available as a dietary supplement. 5-MTHF has been shown to dramatically raise red blood cell folate concentration, an indicator of folate status191 compared with folic acid supplementation. This bioactive folate is up to seven times more bioavailable than folic acid. This greater bioavailability is especially important in people who have a genetic enzyme deficiency192 since it requires no conversion to become metabolically active.

A study of 10 patients with endothelial dysfunction showed complete reversal of endothelial impairment after 5-MTHF supplementation compared with healthy control patients.193

People with elevated homocysteine levels have a greater risk of cognitive decline.194 Unlike folic acid, 5-MTHF is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which is especially important for people with cognitive difficulties to enhance the synthesis of acetylcholine in the brain — the neurotransmitter associated with memory.

Studies also show that the effectiveness of 5-MTHF can be further enhanced by co-supplementing with methylcobalamin (the active form of vitamin B12),195 vitamin B6, and riboflavin.196,197

smurfy88
by Jessica on Oct. 8, 2013 at 8:11 AM
Thank you for this information!

Quoting Alyson121:

Folate 


Folate is involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and critical enzymatic reactions throughout the body. By depleting excess homocysteine, folate benefits cardiovascular health and nervous system function.

Those who take ordinary folate supplements, however, may not be experiencing its full spectrum of effects. This is because once ingested, not everyone converts folate to its biologically active form called  5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).190 Research shows that in a large proportion of the population, genetic enzyme deficiencies prevent the conversion of folate to 5-MTHF, leaving many vulnerable to low blood folate levels (and higher than desired homocysteine).

A more useful approach is to take the bioactive folate 5-MTHF directly, which has been declassified as a drug and is now available as a dietary supplement. 5-MTHF has been shown to dramatically raise red blood cell folate concentration, an indicator of folate status191 compared with folic acid supplementation. This bioactive folate is up to seven times more bioavailable than folic acid. This greater bioavailability is especially important in people who have a genetic enzyme deficiency192 since it requires no conversion to become metabolically active.

A study of 10 patients with endothelial dysfunction showed complete reversal of endothelial impairment after 5-MTHF supplementation compared with healthy control patients.193

People with elevated homocysteine levels have a greater risk of cognitive decline.194 Unlike folic acid, 5-MTHF is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which is especially important for people with cognitive difficulties to enhance the synthesis of acetylcholine in the brain — the neurotransmitter associated with memory.

Studies also show that the effectiveness of 5-MTHF can be further enhanced by co-supplementing with methylcobalamin (the active form of vitamin B12),195 vitamin B6, and riboflavin.196,197

LindaClement
by Gold Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Everything I've read has indicated that natural or synthetic, it's a dangerous supplement, and experts aren't sure why. All they know is that it dramatically increases the risk of heart attacks.

Better to get it naturally in folate-rich foods:

~ marmite (don't ask, if you don't know I promise you don't want to know)

~ liver (contraindicated for pregnant women, so skip it)

~ herbs (generally too large a 'serving size' to be practical --wanna eat 53tbsps of dried parsley? Yeah, me either.)

Which leaves: beans and peas (all kinds, including sprouts), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) and dark green vegetables (kale, spinach, parsley, mint, broccoli, asparagus, basil, rosemary, etc...)

You should include at least one of any of them in most of your meals...

Also: if your diet has been deficient in folate leading up to your pregnancy, taking supplements NOW won't affect your baby's risk of neural tube defect...

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