When I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease about 6 years ago, I had blood tests on a weekly bases. One thing that shocked me was my genetic testing.
From week to week my genes would change.
Like a city of workers
Sometimes we have a weak gene that messes up the chain of functions the body performs. Our body works with a complex chain of workers converting and translating vitamins, minerals, and nutrients into useful functional tools for use.
Think of it like a busy city of people where one of the workers is missing.
How Folate Directs Healthier Genetics
B vitamins are critical for the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. So basically the little workers talking, communicating, and processing information have to have B vitamins.
Studies have shown that low B vitamins are associated with cognitive decline and many other weaknesses.
Folate has a number of the worker functions that enhance cognitive performance including lowering inflammation and reducing homocysteine, two things that are linked to brain disorders.
Folate occurs naturally in foods.
Folic acid, on the other hand, is a synthetic form of folate that is found in most supplements.
In order to use both naturally occurring folate and synthetic folic acid, our bodies must convert these forms into methylfolate. But some research estimates that up to 40% of the population cannot make this conversion efficiently. If you cannot make the conversion, you could potentially develop low levels of folate even if you’re eating plenty of folate-rich foods and supplementing with folic acid.
Methylfolate does not need to be converted, meaning our bodies can use it immediately. (source).
Folic Acid vs Folate in Pregnancy
Synthetic folic acid can hog the folate receptor sites in the MTHFR (detoxification) pathway, so eat whole foods rich in folate, and when pregnant, take a methylfolate-based prenatal supplement!
And if you have the MTHFR gene (or simply do not know yet) you need methylfolate, so please look for a prenatal that has methylfolate not just folate.
Update: In response to questions about a high-quality prenatal recommendation, Dr. Axe Ancient Multi – Prenatal with Methylated Folate is excellent but more expensive. Garden Of Life prenatal is now owned by Nestle, and no longer to be trusted with such an important job! Mama Bird Prenatal, Methylfolate (Folic Acid), Methylcobalamin (B12), Whole Food is a great value cost-wise!
This is the Methyl B Complete I take when I’m NOT pregnant, but it may not be right for you. You will generally know in a few weeks (2-4) if it helps or not.
When unusable folic acid is blocking/hogging the receptor sites where methylfolate is needed, a folate deficiency occurs and the following can happen:
- Neural tube defects
- Recurrent miscarriages
- Midline defects including tongue tie (read more about folate and tongue tie here)
- Neurological problems
- Anxiety (many people don’t realize they have anxiety until starting folate and having it go way down)
- Growth problems
- Thyroid problems
- Anemia and more
Avoid processed foods as these are fortified with folic acid and this causes a burden in detoxification and metabolism, especially for folks with the MTHFR genetic defect(s).
Studies have shown that adding folate/methylfolate to brain cell cultures can “turn off” the gene that produces the toxin beta-amyloid proteins, which are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
It has been fun watching my genes change and get stronger. I am sweating for the first time in my life, which is weird and great! It is a very important part of detox.
I am getting stronger for me but also for my babies. I want to help them with their genetics.
And I want to change our family’s future!
So many positive studies show B vitamins (including folate!) support healthy genetics:
“If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong.” ~Thomas Jefferson
When Shoshanna Easling was growing up, herbs were like tomatoes. They grew them. They put them up for the winter. They used them daily, and gave concoctions away to people in need of them. Her mother Debi was always teaching them. By the time Shoshanna was 13, her family started the Bulk Herb Store which has now been bought by Baker Creek Rare Seeds. At 18, she ran the Bulk Herb Store. She had a passion to help people.
Her passion continues today as Shoshanna and her husband James love to teach what they know and inspire you to learn and research beyond that.