We have established that folic acid was developed in the laboratory in the 1940’s. It is a man made and not a natural substance – the oxidized form of folate. It has been fortified in our foods to reduce neural tube defects starting in 1998. Suggested disease increase from folic acid fortification: – autism, depression, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer (why didn’t our scientist and doctors recognize this as an issue before fortification of our foods?). A large percentage of the population has genetic mutations which slows the conversion of food folates and folic acid to the needed form of the folate – methylfolate. The mutation: MTHFR or methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (confused yet? – yes it’s difficult). Free folic acid circulating in our blood suppresses the immune system. The free folic acid in combination of not enough methylfolate to complete the methylation cycle for genetic expression can result in many diseases: pulmonary embolisms, addictions, fibromyalgia, miscarriages, schizophrenia, severe depression, cancer, diarrhea and digestive disorders, and autism to name a few.
What should you do?
Avoid foods that have been fortified with folic acid. Avoid supplements that have folic acid and not methylfolate. Do not allow your medical professional to confuse folic acid with methylfolate – they are not equals! If you decide to supplement, the amount required is less than 800 micrograms per day. I suspect that with your food, 400 micrograms of methylfolate is adequate (other names metafolin or L-methylfolate – do not supplement with other folates they may not be biologically active or worse cause unnatural biology that may be toxic).
In having discussions with your doctor about what you suspect may be the cause of your illness may require you to challenge your doctor for the test of MTHFR mutations. How do you determine if the test is required? First your doctor is skeptical. Second – if you have had chronic disease, particularly the ones listed above, and you have supplemented with the other nutrients in which you are deficient and tried all the prescriptions your doctor has described without relief, this may be the problem. Third – As much as seventy percent of the population has some form of mutation and it is severe in ten percent of the population. Remember, the practice of medicine is an art by definition. Great art is only created after much study, trial, and error. Of course you could just start supplementing with methylfolate and other methyl donors like betaine (trimethylglycine or TMG ) to see if you find relief. In my research I have found the price for the test to range from $56 dollars to over $600 dollars. I suspect the actual cost to the laboratory at $15 dollars – the rest is fully absorbed cost and mark-up for sampling and consultation. One hundred to two hundred dollars should be the expected price to you.
The test for normal vitamin panels will just say folate. In discussions with two different laboratory specialists, I could not get a definition of what folate was being tested in the blood. Was it folic acid, methylfolate, or a total of all forms? This sounds a lot like the confusion of what to test for with vitamin D and its many forms. With something as critical as methyl donors for RNA/DNA expression, you would think there would be more clarity – art claiming to be science once again.
Here is a comment from one of my readers, Dr. Ros, and her experience with MTHFR: “I asked my doctor to test me for MTHFR deficiency, an enzyme responsible for converting food folates to methylfolate, the form the body actually uses. (The body cannot convert folic acid to methylfolate with the mutation either) This enzyme is also required to detoxify the body. I tested positive for two copies, mutations, homozygous. I am now taking methylfolate and I can tell this is something I needed. As I age, I was noticing that I had trouble healing from a cold and subsequent sinus infection (DNA and RNA replications issues) and even had surgery in an attempt to ameliorate my sinus issues. Vitamins and herbs have most important in my healing. Vitamin D and glycine have been essential. The genome project was responsible for bringing this issue to the light of day but many doctors are not informed. I am lucky I was educated enough to ask for the test. My family history was an indicator there was probable cause to test.”
Again, it is never just one nutrient or vitamin. It is the combination of all nutrition, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that give us health from a food source and environment that has not been compromised by poor science and distasteful art. Practice life with great love, peace, and joy – do not get this confused with art and science. – Pandemic Survivor