Yours in health, Dr. Kimberly Maziarz Carlucci
The Folic Acid Controversy Revisited
Gregory M. Kingsbury, D.C.
Optimal Health Consultant
Designs for Health
Folic Acid vs. Folate: Part I Folic Acid: The Story Behind Its Health Risks The April issue of Prevention magazine contained an article entitled Is Your Breakfast Giving You Cancer?, which has generated significant media and public concern regarding folic acid. The Prevention magazine article presents research that suggests that synthetic folic acid fortification of white flour, rice, breakfast cereals, nutrition bars, beverages, most multi-vitamins and many other nutritional supplements, has led to significant increases in cancer, particularly colon, prostate, and lung cancer. "The more we learn about folic acid, the more it's clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks," says folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England, as quoted in the Prevention magazine article. View the article through this link: www.Prevention.com... Although folic acid has been associated with many health benefits, there are a number of research studies suggesting potential health risks of high intake of folic acid from fortified foods and dietary supplements. Folate vs. Folic Acid: What is the difference? The terms "folate" and "folic acid" are often used interchangeably but they are not one and the same. Folates are members of the B vitamin family (referring to various tetrahydrofolate derivatives) naturally occurring in foods, mainly leafy green vegetables. Folic acid, on the other hand, is a fully oxidized, synthetic compound (pteroylmonoglutamic acid), used in dietary supplements and in food fortification. The important difference to note is that folic acid does not occur naturally. Folate and Human Health
What is the role of folate? Folate is necessary during rapid cell division and growth. In fact, pregnancy is known to actually double the need of dietary folates.
Folate deficiency has been reported to be the most common vitamin deficiency in the US, and is associated with such conditions as:
- Incidence and recurrence of Neural Tube Defects (serious birth defects of the spinal cord and the brain which arise during the early development of the embryo, most common being spina bifida)
- Increased risk of certain cancers
- Elevated Homocysteine, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke and many other health conditions
- Inadequate dietary intake
- Increased requirement, as in pregnancy and lactation
- Altered hepatic (liver) metabolism
- Increased elimination of folate
Ulrich CM, Potter JD. Folate supplementation: too much of a good thing? Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006 Feb;15(2):189-93. Kim YI. Folic acid fortification and supplementation-good for some but not so good for others. Nutr Rev. 2007 Nov;65(11):504-11. Powers HJ. Folic acid under scrutiny. Br J Nutr. 2007 Oct;98(4):665-6. Wright AJ, Dainty JR, Finglas PM. 2007. Folic acid metabolism in human subjects revisited: potential implications for proposed Forssén KM, Jägerstad MI, Wigertz K, Witthöft CM. Folates and dairy products: a critical update. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Apr;19(2 Suppl):100S-110S. Duthie SJ. Folic acid deficiency and cancer: mechanisms of DNA instability. Br Med Bull. 1999;55(3):578-92. van der Put NM, van Straaten HW, Trijbels FJ, Blom HJ. Folate, homocysteine and neural tube defects: an overview. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2001 Apr;226(4):243-70. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Spina Bifida and Anencephaly Before and After Folic Acid Mandate - United States, 1995-1996 and 1999-2000. MMWR Weekly, May 7, 2004 53(17):362-365. Shane B. Folate fortification: enough already? Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jan;77(1):8-9. Brody T. Nutritional biochemistry. San Diego: Academic Press 1999.
Folic Acid vs. Folates: Part II The Story of Natural Folates As we saw in Part I of the Folic Acid vs. Folate Story, there is a vast difference between these two nutrients. Folate is naturally found in food, and carries with it no known downside. Folic acid, on the other hand, a synthesized compound, carries with it potential serious health risks. As folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England, said in the Prevention magazine article which triggered public concern over this B vitamin, "Unlike folate, folic acid isn't found in nature, so we don't know the effect of the excess." At Designs for Health we fully understand and appreciate the critical roles in regard to health that folates play, including facilitating proper methylation for optimal genetic expression, and lowering the risk of neural tube defects and cardiovascular disease, both associated with elevated homocysteine levels. We, thus, encourage the addition of folate-containing foods as part of a healthy diet. Important sources of folate
- leafy green vegetables
- dairy products
- orange juice
The answer is Yes! Designs for Health takes its "Science first" commitment very seriously. Clear evidence of this commitment is the fact that in our entire product line of folate-containing products we only use NatureFolate™, a blend of natural folates including those found in spinach. Putting science first, we made the decision to use NatureFolate™ even though the price of folic acid is approximately $35 per kilo while the natural isomer of 5-MTHF used in NatureFolate™ costs in excess of $15,000 per kilo! The folate forms found in NatureFolate™ are fully reduced tetrahydrofolates, the key here being that do not require liver enzymes to metabolize them into active folate. These are safe, natural forms which are quickly and easily utilized by the body. NatureFolate™ provides the proven benefits of optimal folate supplementation without the risks.
DFH replaced folic acid with NatureFolate™ not only in our featured folate products, but in all DFH products, such as our multivitamins, including our prenatal vitamin, as well as our formulary blends.
Simply put, it is safer to consume natural folates than to consume folic acid long-term. Once again, nature knows best.
Yours for Better Health Naturally,
Greg Kingsbury, D.C. Yours in health, Dr. Kimberly Maziarz Carlucci, DC 86 Valley Rd, Montclair, NJ 07042 973-744-9880 www.PosturePerfectChiropractic.com