Learn more about MTHFR by reading these: Is MTHFR a Bad word?
Please welcome The Healthy Elephant’s first featured author, April Butchee. April is a stay-at-home mother of 2 girls who has personally experienced the wrath of the MTHFR mutation. After enduring anxiety, depression, miscarriages, pre-cancerous cells, and pulmonary embolisms due to MTHFR, April has been dedicated to raising awareness about this relatively common problem, a genetic mutation that doctors seem to dismiss.
MTHFR is a gene and an enzyme, that when mutated can cause a variety of health issues. Although 40-50% of the population have some form of this mutation, hardly anyone has heard of its existence.
Today, April would like to share with you the differences between folic acid and L-methylfolate and why it makes such a difference to someone with the MTHFR mutation. Take it away, April!
According to the medical community, folic acid is an important nutrient, especially in pregnancy. However, there might be disastrous results to your health if your body cannot break it down properly. I will explain some important differences you need to be aware of.
What is Folic Acid?
It is a synthetic supplement that is cheap and easy to mass produce. Some people may not be aware that Folic Acid is not good for anyone with MTHFR. If you have a mutated MTHFR gene, you have a very limited ability to breakdown and process Folic Acid. Folic Acid is found in almost any multivitamin or prenatal you find on the shelves.
In 1998 the FDA started fortifying foods with Folic Acid, such as, flour, cereal, bread, rice and pasta. Although these nutrients may be helpful for some, for greater than half of the population, they are NOT. Start checking the labels on your food and you will see what I am talking about. They might disguise it as “Folate”, but if it is added to your food by man, then it is not Folate. (See “What is Folate?” explained below.)
What is L-methylfolate?
L-methylfolate is technically a synthetic supplement as well since it is man-made. How is it different than Folic Acid? L-methylfolate is already broken down for those who lack the ability break down Folic Acid on their own. There is a four-step process needed to break down Folic Acid into L-methylfolate.(http://www.localharvest.org/)
Folic Acid > Dihydrofolate > Tetrahydrofolate > 5, 10 Methylene THF > L-methylfolate
Without the ability to breakdown Folic Acid into it’s most bioavailable form of L-methylfolate we are leaving ourselves susceptible to many health issues. Want to read more about Folic Acid vs. Folate, and even how Unmetabolized Folic Acid can be harmful? This is a good place to start: http://chriskresser.com/folate-vs-folic-acid
What is Folate?
Folate is naturally occurring. No one added this into the food except God himself. You will find folate in foods, such as, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lettuce, liver and eggs. Keep in mind you will only receive a small amount of the micrograms needed, directly from food Folate. L-methylfolate provides larger doses for those who may need more than what is received through food.
Unfortunately many of the foods found in stores today have been genetically modified (GMO’s) and are lacking in many nutrients. It’s always a good idea to buy organic, or from a local farmer’s market. If you don’t know where a farmer’s market is near you, try this website: http://www.localharvest.org/.
I suggest that everyone keeps up to date with current research and stays educated about their genetic mutations. 23andme.com provides testing for hundreds of thousands of genetic mutations. Through testing we discovered that every single member of my family (mother, father, both of my brothers and both of my daughters) all have a variation of MTHFR. We are learning that MTHFR is just one piece of the genetic mutation puzzle. We are still putting all the pieces of this puzzle together and learning all there is to know.
It is important to take charge of your health. Find a knowledgeable doctor who will listen. Trust me, those doctors do exist.
Thanks for listening, April
You can find out more about April and her work @ SurvivingMTHFR.blogspot.com