Folic Acid, also known as folate is a member of the Vitamin B Family, specifically B9. Folic acid is the form of B9 that is added to vitamin supplements and fortified foods, this is not the naturally occurring form identified as dihydrofolic acid. This naturally occurring form is found most readily in foliage foods – in dark leafy greens.
For the body to utilize folic acid, it must go through a multi-step conversion in the liver and intestines to the naturally occurring form, dihydrofolic acid. Individuals with liver or intestinal disorders may negatively affect this muti-step process. This conversion requires the help of an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. The gene MTHFR provides the instruction for this enzyme needed for the conversion process.
It is estimated that perhaps 60% of the US population may have a genetic defect in the MTHFR gene. What can result is a build up of un-metabolized folic acid. Un-metabolized folic acid can dampen the immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to certain disease states. Individuals who have a genetic mutation of the MTHFR gene can have negative health consequences.
One of the most important consequences of this genetic mutation are birth defects known as neural tube defects (NTDs). This is one of the most serious negative effect of the genetic mutation of MTHFR. But other health detriments have also been identified such as: heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, glaucoma, psychiatric disorders, periodontal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cervical dysplasia and certain forms of cancer, such as breast and colorectal cancer.
Pregnant women and other individuals may be at risk when folic acid supplementation is in the form of folic acid alone. One way to counter this potential genetic defect is to supplement with 5-MTHF. 5-MTHF is the activated form of folic acid that can help with the needed conversion of folic acid to its naturally occurring form dihydrofolic acid.
Adding 5-MTHF to your supplements, we can counter these potential negative effects on the health of individuals, unborn children, and the reproductive organs of unborn children. This is epigenetics, the ability to have an affect on future generations.
If you are interested in finding out more about this important aspect of Folic acid, please make an appointment to see me, Julie Martin, ND, by calling the Center at 847-236-1701.
Thanks and Be in Good Health!
Julie Martin, ND, FABNO