I remember when I was pregnant and at every single OB appointment I was asked, “are you taking folic acid”. It was apparently the most important thing to my OB’s nurses. So what exactly is “folic acid” and what is this “methylfolate” you sometimes see on the back of supplements?
I am more on the natural side of things but I delivered at one of the top hospitals in LA and one that is very medical. I did my own research about things though and felt comfortable to know what I did and didn’t need throughout my pregnancy. If let this was especially important due to my deficiencies with being celiac. Folic Acid is a synthetic supplement that is encouraged during pregnancy due to it helping to prevent birth defects of your baby’s spinal cord and brain. It is naturally found in foods such as oranges, liver, asparagus, beets, broccoli, etc. It helps your body produce and maintain new cells and helps prevent the DNA that possibly could lead to cancer. Obviously more research into what it does is underway.
So, why this synthetic supplement? Well, it is cheap to make. Many people cannot break down folic acid though so although you are taking your daily dose, your body is not absorbing enough of it at all. This is where Methylfolate, sometimes referred to as just folate, comes into play. It is the natural from of this supplement so your body absorbs and breaks it down much easier. Obviously, it is best to get the majority of your vitamins and supplements naturally through food but this day and age that can be quite difficult. This is why it is so important that the vitamins you do take are good quality and easily absorbable by your body or you will just pee them all out. There are also risks stemming from high intakes of folic acid due to your body not being able to break it down which you can read at here.
This information is extremely important to know if you have a MTHFR mutation which you can read about here. ½ the population has this disorder/mutation so it is pretty widespread.
You can easily get the natural form of folate in capsules as well as find prenatal supplements that have it already. You just have to dig for them. While pregnant I took my prenatal as well as extra methylfolate as my prenatal didn’t have enough of it.
From our home to yours, Tina Turbin.