Folate vs. Folic Acid – What is the difference? Healthy babies need to know!

Tasha Jennings, a Naturopath, is joining me on the Nourishing Hub this week to discuss Folate and Folic acid. Tasha’s pregnancy and conception product has been coming to my attention for a long time. I am thrilled it will be available on the Nourishing hub next week. Zycia, which means “life”, is a prenatal nutrition supplement that combines a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Zycia Natal Nutrients contain activated form folate. Why is this important? I’ll let Tasha explain…

Folate vs. Folic Acid – What is the difference? Healthy babies need to know!

Congratulations! Friends, family members, and the media have probably told you about the importance of folate or folic acid. Aren’t they the same thing?

They are not. Folate and folate are key differences that can affect your chances of having a baby. Folic acid can also negatively impact your ability to have a healthy pregnancy.

Folate, a natural nutrient found in foods and used by the body to create DNA, is called folate. Folate is important for healthy growth and development. A pregnancy cannot be sustained if there is not enough folate. Low folate levels can increase women’s risk of miscarriage or congenital disabilities.

Folate is essential for the formation of the neural tube. This connects the brain to the spinal cord. This chord allows the brain to communicate with other parts of the body. This neural tube fully develops and closes within the first five weeks of pregnancy. You may not even know you are pregnant until then. A miscarriage or congenital disability can be caused by a failure of the neural tube’s development. A healthy diet is vital for a healthy baby. Broccoli, spinach, lentils and pinto beans are good sources of folate. It is important to keep in mind that folate can be lost if it is heated or processed. Our food is often deficient in natural folate due to our modern lifestyle.

Folic acid is a vital component of reproduction and general health. Today’s food is often fortified, and folic acid supplements are recommended for pregnant women. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant have been advised to take 500mcg of folate for the past 20 years. New research shows that 40% of women still fail to attain the recommended blood folate levels despite taking dietary supplements and eating foods fortified. Why?

Folate and folate are two different things. Folic acid can be used as a synthetic supplement to folate. Half of the population has difficulty metabolizing folic acid to usable folate. People with these conditions are more likely not to have a healthy conception and are at a 60% higher risk for developing neural tube defects.

How can you tell if you are affected? This metabolism problem is caused by a common polymorphism in the MTHFR gene. Your specialist or GP can order a test to check your MTHFR status.

Newer forms of folate are available that bypass the MTHFR genes. Folic acid (calcium folinate) has been shown more effective than folic acid in raising plasma folate levels.

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