The other night we finished a delicious meal of pasta Bolognese and my husband asked what was in the gluten-free pasta. I grabbed the box and, as I scanned it, my face fell. The pasta was fortified with a vitamin and mineral mix, including Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin and Folic Acid! If you have MTHFR, consuming Folic Acid is a big no, no. Our bodies can’t process it and the excess ends up being stored as toxins in our organs and tissue. I was so busy looking for a gluten-free product that I didn’t think to check the box for folic acid fortification. This usually wasn’t a problem at the organic supermarkets where I shop.
Although the names are often used interchangeably, there is a big difference between naturally occurring folate and folic acid. The linked article explains this really well but basically folic acid is an inactive form, added to food because it is more stable. The human body has to convert that substance into a form of folate that the body can use. But if you have MTHFR defects, your body can’t convert this folic acid and it builds up in your system. One of the things that likely got me into trouble was my consumption of more than 800 mcg folic acid for over a year when we were trying to conceive. I believe I now have circulating unmetabolized folic acid in my system, which I still haven’t figured out how to get rid of.
Since 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been requiring food manufacturers to add folic acid to grain products like cereal, bread, flour, pasta and rice. This practice also goes on in countries like Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa.
This is an issue whether you have MTHFR gene mutations or not. Even the Harvard School of Health recommends against the consumption of fortified foods. When I started reading about this issue I was shocked. Granted this knowledge is coming at the same time as my discovery that I have the MTHFR genetic defect, but I think even those who are not affected by MTHFR in their bodies will have the same reaction to the research. The primary reason for forced folic acid ingestion was to lower the incidence of neural tube defects in newborn babies. In the United States, this has resulted in a 30% reduction. But what about those of us who have MTHFR and are trying to conceive? Even one of the most popular pregnancy and conception book series out there didn’t warn me that I might be one of the many women for whom folic acid is completely useless. So here we are taking loads of the stuff, increasing our own toxicity, and we can still end up with birth defects or miscarriages. That’s what they don’t tell you.
Meanwhile, people who aren’t even pregnant or trying to conceive are receiving a heavy dose of this unnatural folic acid. If 30-40% of the population as estimated does have MTHFR gene defects, then could those people be poisoned by this program? As mentioned in this research article that examines the fortification issue from both sides, potentially yes. The effects have not been studied adequately enough. The article mentions that the addition of folate to established tumors has previously been shown to cause an “acceleration phenomenon” in humans. But the FDA still defends itself while others have posited this same question.
Unmetabolized folic acid can cause health problems for all people that don’t show up for many years. It can decrease natural killer cell cytotoxicity and impair the body from responding to arthritis, cancer and anti-malarial drugs. In the elderly, who often have B12 deficiencies, folic acid can cause cognitive impairment and anemia. And while folic acid can have a protective effect against certain cancers, it can accelerate the growth of tumors already present. For me, it’s simply too risky to ingest this substance. Alternatively, I encourage women to find out their MTHFR status and take the appropriate form of folate for them. If you’re having sex and know that pregnancy might be a risk, do this as a precaution. The information about folic acid while trying to conceive is out there. Until studies can prove that folic acid is safe for everyone else, I don’t believe that other people should be dosed with a substance that could harm them. And especially not at the levels unwitting consumers are being exposed to.
Fortunately you don’t have to be a reluctant victim of this fortification. Let this be a reminder to always check your packaging. If you are buying rice, pasta, oatmeal, cornmeal, products made with flour (crackers, biscuits, cookies, baking mixes, etc.), or even soy milk, ALWAYS check the label. If you see the words “enriched” or “fortified,” the product probably contains folic acid. And don’t forget about dietary supplements. Many multi-vitamins and prenatal vitamins contain the inactive form. Other vitamin or mineral blends may sneak it in there as a supplementary ingredient. While you’re at it, keep an eye out for cyanocobalamin (the inactive form of B12) and B6. If you have MTHFR you want the active forms of these vitamins, which means specific types of methylfolate instead of Folic Acid (see the linked article before purchasing active B9 supplements), methylcobalamin and pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P), which is active B6.
In my next post I’ll talk about where you can get the nutrients a MTHFR body needs from natural foods. Supplements are fine if you need them, but it’s always better to get your vitamins and minerals naturally from food. Unfortunately, many of us have issues with poor absorption because of leaky gut and other issues, so this is not always possible. But you should be armed with the knowledge of what foods are best for you to eat and what supplements you should and should not ingest.
Ann Nona Muss
I really wish people would quit calling the MTHFR mutation a defect. It is NOT a defect to NOT be able to process a SYNTHETIC compound. That’s like being defective because you can’t digest plastic.
THANK YOU. Finally someone who is even willing to admit what this Folic Acid scheme is. Poisoning. It is literally POISONING 40% of the population to some degree. Their excuse? It’s for the KIDS you don’t hate babies do you! (same government that encourages abortions). So their “reasoning” is. “Instead of educating would be mothers to eat more leafy greens lets FORCE CERTAIN companies to put this poison in all their food because its sooo much easier to POISON 40% of the population on the off chance it MAY help a TINY PERCENTAGE of pregnant women who don’t bother eating healthily.”
Even my Dad and a woman at work are still buying into it. “Sure its poisoning but ITS FOR THE KIDS!” How are they getting away with this? Have we really become THAT dumbed down as a society?
I am homozygous MTHFR and have been SUFFERING severe panic attacks, depression, anxiety and mental break downs since around 1999. GEE I WONDER WHY.
Super important warning: If you take Lamictal (generic is lamotrigine), then added folic acid is a disaster. It completely inactivates the drug. There are many studies out there published in peer-reviewed journals proving this. Here’s a link to just one of them: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26687300. Real folic acid occurring naturally in food is a whole different story.
The reason this is so important is that Lamictal is a very common drug for people to be on. It certainly has its own issues and side effects, and whether everyone who was prescribed this drug really needs to be on it is a topic of its own. BUT, if you have very specific types of epilepsy (such as Lennox-Gastaut, or acquired epilepsy from a traumatic brain injury), there simply isn’t anything else that works. If this drug is even the tiniest bit off, though, it’s a complete nightmare. And as you can see if you look at the study above, added fake folic acid doesn’t just throw the drug levels off, it completely “nullifies” Lamictal like you aren’t even taking it. I really wish that we had a lot more options for food products that don’t have fake vitamins added. Because wow, they cause problems for a LOT of people.
Andrea Post author
Thank you! for this very important information, Catie
I am really interested in your post. My son is Autistic, he is 18 and had his first GTC seizure 18 month ago. He was placed on Lamictal to treat intractable seizures about 9 month ago. Since then he has been in the ER several times with toxic levels in his blood. Last time was over 25.8 which is almost three times the normal therapeutic levels. He was so sick over the Christmas season, throwing up for 10 days, lost 9 pounds and was terribly affected by the Lamictal doses building up in his blood. Besides bringing the report to the doctors attention what can I do?
How can I share this in a text or email??
That is not true for everyone I know someone who took both at the same time- I know someone who was talking a lot of folic acid actually ( before they new) and could 100% get relive for depression- was not using as a seizure med
Greetings! I had a light bulb moment about added folic acid in flour way back when I was first found to have my rare triple variant (homozygous defect on the C677T, and a heterozygous defect on the A1298C) after becoming completely debilitated by the folic acid supplements I took when I was pregnant with my first child (onset of crippling post-natal arthritis lasting about 9 months, and full-blown Hashimoto’s which I still have) — thank you so much for doing work on this. A few years ago I could find nothing on this and was completely alone and in the dark with my theories. Also completely alone on the post-natal flare ups I had — all the docs just told me I was “tired”. Well, yes, I was tired too as my newborn had undiagnosed lip tye (likely related to my mthfr variants) and was up every two hours hungry, and my poor nipples were bleeding for 5 months! Thank goodness there is some knowledge out here now on all of these things!
Andrea Post author
Thanks for sharing your story, Emily – I had these same experiences and that’s why I made this site – I’m so glad it helps!
How can I find out the other “sneaky” names used to identify FA in my food? It’s bad enough scanning labels for Gluten, dangerous fake sugars..but now I need to make sure no FA as I get terrible neck/shoulder pain and headaches.
Any info will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for this blog. Extremely helpful.
I have homozygous MTHFR and have been suffering a long time. I have patched myself up pretty well over the years though, curing leaky gut etc but mental problems still persist, although at a minimum now after taking folate and methyl B12, BH4, small amount of lithium etc for a year now. However, I think the rest of the info contained will help me crack it completely. When I have too much gluten and folic acid fortified foods I turn very autistic very rapidly (cannot make eye contact, do not like people looking at my face, stuttering etc) – it is indeed a poison to me.
Thank you also to Michael for the amazing info, with your research that you have laid out here for people for free you’re doing a great service and feel I have more avenues to try now and more hope.
Big thank you to both.
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Hi. I have heterozygous MTHFR C677T and MTHFR A12198C. I am experiencing neuropathy from knees to feet and weakness in my legs, fatigue,at times anxiety, inability to do strenuous exercise, don’t sleep well to name a few symptoms. I have been troubleshooting with two specialists,a clinical nutritionist and a wholistic orthopedic. One put me on active B and then the other increased it to prescription dose methylized B’s d/t the neuropathy. Now I think I am overmethylizing. my symptoms got better for about a month and then worsened with other symptoms like increasing joint pain, and more of the above. I notices a doctor in Austrailia than you can pay for phone or skype consult. anyone done this with good results? Anyone have suggestions for me and my type of defects?
I juts started working with him (mthfrgenehealth.com). I live in Florida, USA but could not find anyone locally. He’s very knowledge and I am just starting his supplements. I’m optimistic. I’m homozygous for MTHFR and a couple of other related gene mutations, which he identified.
Hi Adam, I live in Jacksonville, Fl and my son has this. Have you found anything locally that works for you?
Would Mayo Clinic have someone? I am in north florida and in desperate need of someone that “gets” this. I was just badly injured by a tricyclic antidepressant.
Here in Jacksonville, FL there are two local physicians VERY familiar with MTHFR that I have personal experience with.
Adults: Dr. Serle
Mayo Clinic will not help with this until its at an extremely severe level.
I have similar issues…. but I am starting to increase my methlyfolate dosage beyond 10mg to see how this helps.
I am on a keto diet… this has helped considerably with weakness in legs, fatigue, and anxiety… but not a cure all.
I would explore the methylation pathways(google image search), and see if anything negative is building up in your system such as homocystine. I wish I had more answers, but I have been exploring what works for me through trial and error.
I know that Keto works for me, High does of Methylfolate work for me. Tryptophan and Tyrosine help somewhat with serotonin and dopamine respectfully. (I try not to take them if possible, for other reasons).
What doesn’t work for me, is Choline (&Inulin), as well as SAMe.
I wish you the best!
Thanks Zack. I appreciate your suggestions. I’ll consider trying the Keto diet. It is definitely trial and error. I’ve found that diet is very important. Symptoms get worse quickly if I’m not eating healthy and getting enough sleep also very important.
Wow! What you said sounds exactly Iike what I’ve been going through! Especially the anxiety and sleep problems. I did a lot of reading and found an article that talked about overdosing on MTHFR and how you can cycle your supplements. So I started cycling my MTHFR, I’m going to talk to my dr. in a few days about it (he been out of the country) to see if it is safe but I’ve been doing 2 days on, on day off and have been feel a lot better. I’ve only started doing this for the past week so I’m hoping I continue to feel better.
Sandra l. Konecny
Both of my MTHFR genes have mutations. A Naturopathic Doctor has treated me for more than 10 years. She literally helped me to save my life. I had the things you describe and much more. I have recovered so much including neuropathy, adrenal dysfunction, malabsorbtion and osteopenia to name a few. Hopefully there is a good ND in you area. I do ebb an d flow when folic acid gets into my food socially. My lifestyle as a Saandwiched baby boomers can be all but consistent. It has become a study of choice to be naturally healthy in spite of social influences. For me a desire to live long and stay happy drive e me to stay on track.
who was your doctor that helped you
My son recently had genetic testing done and found a heterozygous MTHFR variant. As I’m looking at food labels a lot of organic wheat flour, rice, pasta etc just says “organic wheat” and doesn’t list whether it’s enriched or not. It’s not 100% whole wheat, so how do I know when reading a label if it’s actually enriched or not? Can I assume if it does not say “enriched wheat or white flour” and then list the vitamins/minerals that it is in fact not enriched? And are there certain grains that the government does not mandate enriching? Barley, millet, oats, etc?
Andrea Post author
Hi Jennifer – best thing to do is call the manufacturer as you can’t assume anything and companies don’t always know to follow rules when labeling
Julie R Lubeck-Hofer
My 8 year old son has homo MTHFR C677t, diagnosed by his eye doctor, who suspected he has low muscle tone, which is affecting the brain controlling his eye muscles, making tracking/reading and writing difficult.
Recommends methyfolate and test strips to avoid folic acid and go gluten free, because gluten prevents the gut from absorbing the methylfolate.
Anyone else reading/hearing to avoid all gluten, even that without folic acid? Do you think we have to avoid all gluten all the time or is it ok to occasionally have some? Pediatrician knows nothing, and there’s so much confusing information out there! Would be so much easier!
Hi there, my son has had a radical turnaround by avoiding dairy, gluten, gmo/pesticides and FA.
When looking for wheat bread products, are they required to state whether or not the flour they use is enriched? Do we have to assume that any white flour is enriched even if it doesn’t state so, and can only buy 100% whole wheat bread?
I live in America, and have thought that I was gluten sensitive for the longest time. I just discovered I’m homozygous MTHFR, and think it may be the folic acid in bread instead. I want to experiment eating bread again, but don’t know what I should buy!
Usually it will say “enriched” and list the vitamins added…when in doubt call the manufacturer
Try Dave’s Killer Bread.
They don’t have synthetic folic acid and it tastes good.
I looked at the packaging for Dave’s Killer Bread and found folic acid in the USDA daily percentages-so not all of their products may be added folate free. I spoke to Food for Life (the original Ezekiel bread products) and they said there was never any added folic acid or folate in their products. There may be some naturally occurring from their ingredients though.
I asked Dave’s Killer Bread about this and this was their response:
Thank you for your inquiry about folic acid in Dave’s Killer Bread. We do not add folic acid to our breads. The small amount listed on the label represents folates (inherent in the ingredients) not folic acid. Folates are represented as folic acid on the label. We are in the process of working to change that to read folates.
We hope this answer addressed your comments.
Please contact us anytime with your questions or feedback.
Dave’s Killer Bread
I have a quick question regarding your White Bread Done Right.
Your nutrition label says there is 2% Folate. Is this Folate in natural-occurring folate or is it in form of synthetic folic acid that is usually used when flour is enriched? My body can’t metabolize sythetic folic acid well so I need to watch for this. Thanks, Almen
Good to know. I have been buying this for my family. Grateful for the confirmation.
I also buy Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread that clearly states 0% Folic Acid.
Thank you for the research! So glad to know I have more choices. I now can buy bread my guests won’t think is “weird”. lol Trying to explain the folic acid issue is more than some people can understand or empathize.
Love the article! I need to learn more. I have double mutation gene and my intentional track is compromised 80%. Looking forward to hearing g from you.
Hello, I have an autistic daughter who I would like to have reduce her levels of synthetic folic acid. If I grind my own wheat berries, I take it that this would not contain folic acid. Is there a form of pasta either gluten free or with gluten that is not fortified with folic acid? We could make our own pasta from wheat but we do not like whole wheat pasta. Also, are there brands of rice which are not fortified with folic acid? Is corn always fortified with folic acid and are organic legumes fortified as well? For example we use cans of chick peas and black eyed peas. Thank you.
Pasta Di Martino from Italy Durem wheat and not fortified . I get it at Krogers or Whole Foods market .
WE THE PEOPLE ASK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO CALL ON CONGRESS TO ACT ON AN ISSUE:
Stop adding Folic Acid to our foods.
Please sign this Petition!
I would have gladly signed this petition but I did not know about it until 5 minutes ago, 12-9-2017.
Angela Webb…would you reconsider reopening or starting another petition? I would be HAPPY to work hard to get that petition seen and signed…thank you.
So my question is, if I’m eating ice cream with cookie bits, and “wheat flour” is listed as an ingredient in the cookie bits, but folic acid isn’t listed in the nutrients, am I okay? Or are hey not required to list it on the ice cream because the folic acid isn’t actually added to the final ice cream product, it would have been in the flour. This hurts my head and makes me feel like I can trust any labels.
Andrea Post author
Obviously I can make no guarantees, however, I’ve found that “wheat flour” usually doesn’t have added vitamins. And often when flour is an ingredient, companies will then have in parentheses all the vitamins included. Many of them think it’s a good thing to have the vitamins! I would call the company for total confirmation.
I wish people would stop saying they have “been diagnosed with a mutation”! MTHFR is not a disease!! Good grief, let’s consider using the word variation. The human body is incredible, and every person is unique. How do could we presume to know if the body didn’t just develop a gene ‘variant’ (NOT mutation – a yucky word that freaks people out and not exactly accurate) in order to also help the body in some way. There is widespread misinformation (which Ben Lynch admits himself that he was off on the folate recommendations) – folate does not help everybody, even the so called methylated form! Please check out the Walsh Institute, Mensah Medical videos, and DHA lab testing (no affiliation) for a better understanding.
The technically correct term is that it’s a polymorphism. Can you point us to where Ben Lynch has made the admission that you noted?
David, Ben talks about early mistakes assuming everyone who has those genes would benefit from methylated forms of folate. In subsequent trials he found that it helped some people, others felt nothing, and some felt worse. Ben talks about it in his most current lectures. I don’t remember which one of the free webinars I listened to (you know the ones that have a number of speakers and you can listen to them talk about a certain subject for free for a limited time, usually a day or two, and then after that, the lectures are for sale), he was one of the speakers and I was happy to hear him bring the topic of folate and the misunderstandings out in the open.
Is there a pasta other than whole wheat, whole spelt, or gluten-free, that one can buy that is not fortified with folic acid, or is that illegal? I eat whole grain breads but for me whole grain pasta is not worth consuming. Perhaps I can order a foreign brand of pasta. What about rice? Is it required to be fortified with folic acid? Also, is there a brand of flour that is not fortified that I could make my own non-whole wheat pasta, preferably organic? I mill my own flour and bake bread but again, I can barely even tolerate the 50% whole wheat pasta.
Andrea Post author
Most of the gluten free pastas don’t have folic acid. A lot of rice is fortified, just check the label. Try organic brands from overseas on the rice. Call the manufacturer if you aren’t sure
Is there any kind of bread that I can have with the MTHFR mutation?
Andrea Post author
Gluten-free breads are usually not fortified. I also look for bread made with wheat flour because often that is also not fortified. Unless, of course, you have a gluten sensitivity. With regards to the MTHFR mutation specifically you want to avoid bread that has the added vitamins and usually the ingredients list will tell you this.
I have a 5 month old son and am in the process of getting ready for solid food at six months. I have MTHFR and have been exclusively breastfeeding. Have you found any organic baby cereal that doesn’t have folic acid? I am struggling to find one. I don’t know if he has the mutation yet, but certainly want to be cautious in case. Thanks!
Andrea Post author
Little Duck Organics Mighty Oats – that’s all we would give our baby! They used to sell it at Whole Foods…
You can also make your own from quinoa but that’s grainy and an acquired taste…try the quinoa flakes.
Cereal is an awful food for babies anyway. May I suggest checking out baby led weaning and their rationale?
Thanks so much for all this info. My daughter, that just turned 15, just learned she has the MTHFR gene mutation and not many doctors are familiar with this. So thank you so much for helping us understand the basics of it all. She has been sick so much and we couldn’t get to he bottom of it all. It’s all matching up now.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and the way to live their lives. I don’t even consciously think about my heterozygous MTHFR mutation. There is not enough peer-reviewed, trusted evidence to say a heterozygous mutation really does not much of anything to your body, even in terms of neural tube defect risk, and my decade+ of experience as an epidemiologist (and one that dabbled in SNP/Mendelian Randomization studies) puts me at ease with this.
I also don’t walk around considering that the fortified foods that I, and all of us consume, are slowly killing me because of unprocessed folic acid, because again, there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that. You are entitled to your opinion, but I think it’s important to stress here that your position is just that, and not necessarily dogmatic fact for those still trying to form their own opinions. As someone involved in population health, with this mutation, I completed and utterly support the fortification of grains with folic acid, just as I do the fortification of salt with iodine, for the public health benefits that the greater good enjoy.
I wish you the best of luck in your journey.
Entitled to you opinion, but WRONG. Good luck to you. You will need it!
The mutation has held me down for years and finally just got the DNA testing that proves it. I have so much going on in my body, I can’t wait to start L-Methylfolate in the prescription form. It is the only thing that will work. It isn’t just Methylfolate, it is as I just said. It is being approved by my insurance via DNA test, it is very expensive and worth getting to extend your life. My Dr. said I am about to feel like a new person… just a normal one will do !
How has this new prescription helped you Lynn?
What do you say about the people who’ve had kids with Spina Bifida and then find out later they have the MTHFR Mutation.
This is me… I have spinabifida and MTHFR. I take folate not folic acid. I don’t avoid every thing with folic acid but I pay attention to getting the folate that my body can use. With MTHFR if I take in too much folic acid my body cannot process it. Also, it is better and healthy to eat natural folate from green plants and skip the pre-packaged boxes.
It’s not causing people to die, like drop dead, but it DOES cause spins bifida, tongue ties which can prevent successful nursing, and a mouth too narrow to support all teeth. You DO see lots of kids with braces. Bet you just think there’s no “reason” for them? Maybe you blame it on genetics? Well, you’d be right to. Some genetic mutations interfere with folic acid metabolism.
There’s never any evidence until people start considering an issue. One must consider it first before it can be studied and evidence provided. However, in the interim before it is studied and evidence provided to satisfy those who did not consider, there are always people being harmed. Not a “greater good,” but real people, with names.
Thank you for helping me understand this, as my 10 year old grandson supposingly has a problem.
Hello. I am trying to limit synthetic folic acid as much as possible in my diet. Is organic whole wheat pasta safe? The kind I purchase at Whole Foods says the only ingredient is organic whole wheat flour. There is no mention of fortified/enriched and nothing says folic acid anywhere on it. Does this mean the US government does not require this type of grain to be fortified. Thanks for your help!
Andrea Post author
Hi Julie, What I can tell you is that I make that assumption and often buy these products for my family. That said, the only way to know for sure is to call the manufacturer and ask. Another thing to remember also is that you have to KEEP CHECKING these products and the ingredients every time you buy. I can’t tell you how many times I have discovered a change to the ingredients list after a period of time. In fact, speaking of Whole Foods, I was buying a couple of their bakery breads because they didn’t have the enriched flour. I’m not sure whether they just weren’t listing the folic acid and other synthetic vitamins for awhile and just updated the label, or if they started using enriched flour, however I was disgusted to see yesterday that they now use enriched flour. So I won’t be buying that bread again.
So at 6 weeks pregnant and my doctor wants me to take folic acid. With the research I have done and having read this article and all your comments I am still wondering how to get enough folate necessary.
I know spinach and quinoa have folate. Should I just Google other foods that have folate or is there an alternative?
Andrea Post author
Hi Sarah – you can take methylfolate…please read this article on pregnancy with MTHFR as well
Sarah, can you please show your doctor these articles… can’t believe doctors are still promoting it. I think you only need -slightly- more folate to protect against birth defects ?
“Folic acid handling by the human gut: implications for food fortification and supplementation.”
“Folic acid supplementation promotes mammary tumor progression in a rat model.”
“High folic acid consumption leads to pseudo-MTHFR deficiency, altered lipid metabolism, and liver injury in mice.”
Chickpeas and hummus are rich in natural folate. Before and during my pregnancies, I took no folic acid supplements but ate foods rich in folate such as chickpeas recommended by my doctor. All my children were born healthy although I worried thru the whole process. So many people tell you that you are putting your baby at risk not taking additives. However, eating “real” food saw our ancestors through. Do your own research though. The more you know and the more info you have gathered thru multiple sources the more confident you will feel in your choices and that is very important as well.
Best of luck to you,
What vegetables are both extremely low in sugar and super low in folate?
No, you WANT sugar and folate from Fruit/Vegetables. Fructose/fruit sugar does not spike Insulin levels and then give you sugar-low problems which is why refined sugar is bad. Natural green foods are the only thing with natural folate (folinic acid). Synthetic Folate (Folic Acid) is Pteroyl-l-glutamate which is folate + MSG. Sugar and Zinc help lower Glutamate so they dont become excitotoxic to brain cells.
NO you don’t because this is misinformation we cannot process folate nor folic acid…into glutathione . Hence why we take L-5 MTHF which is processed folate… You really need to research before giving advice.
That’s not entirely true. We don’t have an *absence* of the ability to convert; we have a *reduced* ability to convert. And part of the reason that becomes an issue is that synthetic folate blocks receptors, so what little we can convert we still can’t use.
So for many people — especially those not bogged down with excessive toxins that would also tie up MTHFR — eliminating the synthetic stuff may, in fact, be adequate to allow the body to process the natural folate from food.
In any case, it’s much less overwhelming for most people to consider eliminating artificially-supplemented foods (which can be difficult enough as it is) than to tell them they also have to cut out a whole slough of completely-natural foods, as well.
Dear andrea, had you got torch test for the pregnancy? I got information, that toxo parasite damages the core of blood, that can lead to many health problem include immune suppression. I have positive toxo that seems cause body inflamation (high IgE, vulnerable to influenza, sensitive to sulfat) and recently got 3 miscarriages consecutively.
Andrea Post author
I was actually tested for toxoplasmosis in my pregnancy that resulted in a live birth and it was negative. Thank you for sharing and sorry for your losses.
Check out the French flour. There is a flour they use there whose wheat source is resistant to rust. See if it is a naturally selected or heirloom wheat or was it created in a lab like the modern hybrid wheat in use over North America.
Deanna: the reason you never had trouble before several years ago is because of what has been done to the foods we are eating. The glyphosate has damaged your intestines and changed your RNA. Glyphosate is used on 160 food crops, especially wheat, not just GMO food crops.
I wonder if there’s any connection between MTHFR and hyperemesis gravidum. If MTHFR folks are not getting USABLE B6…
I had this EXACT same thought!!
I advise try NAET.com to get help with residual buildup.
I was hoping you could help me understand something about MTHFR and methylation in general. It is my understanding that being heterozygous or homozygous MTHFR C677t reduces your ability to convert synthetic folic acid to a usable methylated form. It is also my understanding that natural folate from foods is already in a usable form and thus does not need to be converted. If this is true, why is being heterozygous/homozygous for 677t a problem at all then? If synthetic folic acid (which may get in the way of natural folate use) is removed from diet and adequate amounts of natural folate are consumed, shouldn’t a person who is heterozygous/homozygous for 677t be able to methylate as well as everyone else? Or does heterozygous/homozygous MTHFR cause a reduction of methylation in general or cause other issues even if there is plenty of activated folate to use? It would seem then that everyone regardless of their MTHFR status would require the same amount of activated folate. It would appear that the only difference would be that some of the population are able to convert synthetic folic acid to activated folate easier than others. Additionally, the people that can’t convert would also have umfa build up in their bodies, which appears to be bad as well! Any help understanding would be appreciated!
I’m suspect of Methylation in general, methylation also makes you use a lot of potassium and other electrolites.
This page is very good about folic acid absorption. Its from 2014: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24944062
Current thinking, which is based mainly on rodent studies, is that physiologic doses of folic acid (pterylmonoglutamic acid), such as dietary vitamin folates, are biotransformed in the intestinal mucosa and transferred to the portal vein as the natural circulating plasma folate, 5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid (5-MTHF) before entering the liver and the wider systemic blood supply.
We tested the assumption that, in humans, folic acid is biotransformed (reduced and methylated) to 5-MTHF in the intestinal mucosa.
Fifteen minutes after a dose of folic acid, 80 ± 12% of labeled folate in the hepatic portal vein was unmodified folic acid. In contrast, after a dose of labeled 5-FormylTHF, only 4 ± 18% of labeled folate in the portal vein was unmodified 5-FormylTHF, and the rest had been converted to 5-MTHF after 15 min (postdose).
… This process would suggest that humans are reliant on the liver for folic acid reduction even though it has a low and highly variable DHFR activity. Therefore, chronic liver exposure to folic acid in humans may induce saturation, which would possibly explain reports of systemic circulation of unmetabolized folic acid.
Folic acid conversion is only one of the “jobs” this enzyme has. It’s also necessary for detoxification of many substances, and some other actions.
dear andrea, fabulous site and bless you. Vitrually no knowledge where I live (physician wise) about this topic. Have 2 copies of C677T homozygous. Took regular Folic Acid for years. Now know I shouldn’t have. Is it possible for Homozgous person to get Folic Acid out of their sytem??. Mine is off the charts and insanely high. Some people say it stays in your system forever, and it can cause harm, i.e annoying pre-cancer cells etc, breast cancer, and no way to rid your body of it. Do you find this to be true? Many thanks.
Andrea Post author
I don’t know, Cathy – maybe someone else does and will answer
About cancer, this page describes Selenium and its cytotoxicity towards cancer cells.. It also says MSG (folic acid is pteroyl-l-glutamate) inhibits Selenium… http://www.pnas.org/content/106/27/11400.full
I’ve found that Selenium, Vit E, and Carnitine are the best at reducing oxidative stress.. I think it might also be the best for cancer… and that MSG/glutamates are reduced by sugar and fructose (fruit sugar). Refined sugar is bad because it just spikes Insulin and so all your remaining sugar is absorbed and you get a sugar low. Zinc is really great as well. A lof of men need zinc if you have trouble with hair loss/dull hair and putting on muscle.
I am a newly diagnosed homozygous C677 (T/T). My sister was heterozygous, issues with pregnancy. I still don’t understand the difference between un-natural sources of Folic Acid ( like vitamins and cereal). I have been IDDM for almost 30 yrs..depression anxiety etc and always said it was because of autoimmune. Started taking a methylated vitamin..already converted since we process at a 30% level instead of a 100% level. Maybe we just got used to feeling the way we do…But they sell the methyl folate online to start removing the excess (the backlog) of build up. I am still learning a few days in. I wish I got tested earlier on after my sister. I had a son earlier, 3 weeks early..but healthy thank god
What kind of bread/cereal has no fortified folic acid & where to buy?
Andrea Post author
Most of the gluten free products (find at Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc.) – some of the breads also made from whole wheat flour will not have it. But you have to check every label carefully. Some things labeled organic are still fortified.
I’ve begun making my own bread, so that I know for certain exactly what is going into it. King Arthur brand bread flours are sold in most natural foods stores, but I’ve also found them at regular grocery stores from time to time. The whole wheat bread flour is not enriched. You can also order flours from their website.
Making your own bread sounds laborious, but it really hasn’t been for me. I make a few loaves a week, all on the same day, and put the spare loaves in the freezer for when I don’t have time to make more. It’s been quite easy, actually.
I used KA flour and results were heavy and not pleasant. I just ate a delicious pie with flour from WAR EAGLE MILL – Organic and non fortified!
Organic flour look for it at Sprouts the brand I use is Bobs Red Mill
FDA needs to take it out of our food…they really need to put a warning label on the “man made folic acid”
I have no interest in defending the use of folic acid, but some of your statements regarding it are inaccurate (the person above made a similar observation). It’s your specific assertions that people with MTHRF polymorphisms have a complete inability to use folic acid (i.e., “Our bodies can’t process it”, “ your body can’t convert this folic acid and it builds up in your system.” and “I might be one of the many women for whom folic acid is completely useless.”) that I am talking about. This is not correct. As the person above noted, people with these polymorphisms simply have reduced enzyme activity, not a complete lack of it (which would be necessary for folic acid to be “completely useless”. Furthermore, there is a lot of individual variability on this issue. The original study that gets cited for these statistics (Frosst et al., 1995) studied the 677 polymorphism, and had three groups of people (those without the polymorphism, those heterozygous, and those homozygous). On average the heterozygous groups had 65% the enzyme activity of the “normal” groups and the homozygous group had on average 31%. However, there was a lot of individual variability. Some in the normal group had enzyme activity lower than the heterozygous group and close to that of the homozygous group. And, course, for no one was the activity zero (as would be the case if you were completely unable to use folic acid). Another point to keep in mind is that we are talking about a water soluble vitamin, so most of the excess is excreted in urine.
David, so are you saying that this active form they gave me for MTHFR isn’t necessary? I’m starting to wonder myself because after my doctor told me I needed to take it everyday, she is now saying they haven’t seen a big difference in people using it so I can probably stop taking it. I’m so confused by all this stuffy doctor is telling me. I don’t know if I should keep taking the l-methylfolate and avoid it in foods or if it really doesn’t matter. I’ve gone my whole life not even knowing until now that I had the mutation.
Hi Deanna. Yes, things can seem confusing, and my point was just that the facts need to be accurate so that people don’t get more confused. Although it’s not correct that people with MTHFR polymorphisms can’t process folic acid (on average, they process it less efficiently), it’s still probably true that the active forms (typically methylfolate or folinic acid) are better for you. Active forms also occur in food though. By that, I don’t mean enriched food (that has folic acid) but food such as green vegetables, legumes, and liver). If people eat enough of those, they probably don’t need supplements (and certainly not daily – even the alleged MTHFR experts say they don’t take them daily). However, if I was going to take a supplement, I’d stay away from folic acid and stick to the ones with the active forms of folate. I hope that helps.
David, can a homozygous, 2 copies of c677T person, who took folic acid for many years, prior to our knowing what we know now, every get it out of their system? Some folks are suggesting it stays inside of you forever and that its very very bad. Do you know if homozygous person can rid their body of all that folic acid tablets they took for years??? My folic acid is off the charts and I’m wondered I can’t get rid of it. Thanks
Hi Cathy. Don’t take this a medical advice, but here are some thoughts. First, when you say that your folic acid is “off the charts”, I’m curious how you know that. Most labs test for folate in general, not folic acid specifically. There used to be some labs that tested for unmetabolized folic acid, but I don’t think that test is common. Second, if you do have unmetabolized folic acid, that actually wouldn’t be [at least directly] due to MTHFR. The MTHFR enzyme affects a later stage in the conversion of folic acid to methylfolate. The initial conversion is due to dihydrofolate reductase. Third, unmetabolized folic is apparently very common in the general population. A recent study found it “detected in nearly all serum samples from US children, adolescents, and adults.” (doi:10.3945/jn.114.201210). However, other research shows that these levels due to supplementation do decline over time when supplementation stops, and we are talking about a water soluable vitamin, so it should be excreted in the urine. So, overall, I would say that yes, you should be able to rid your body of it and that it’s not actually your MTHFR status that affects it.
Hi David, this is in response to your reply to Cathy on the comment about building up of Folic Acid and how it’s not due to the MTHFR mutation. Can you please provide where this information comes from? I’m just curious because doctors and everything I’ve read says Folic Acid does build up in our blood and causes health problems. I’ve had a lot of testing done by my previous doctor and although they said I had Homozygous C677T, it also showed my homocysteine levels were fine. Also, one doctor there told me to start taking Methylfolate and another there said I didn’t need too. I came out more confused than when I went in. I was trying to find out why I was having unexplained weight gain and tired all the time no matter what I tried. I thought finding this out was the answer but now I know it’s not. It’s been years and still no real reason. They just told me my toxins were high and I needed to detox more and cut out many things. Is this MTHFR thing really something I need to worry about or can I just avoid folic acid in foods and quit taking the Methylfolate high dose supplement. What I find confusing is before a few years ago I never had any issues so if this is something I was born with then why didn’t it affect me until I was 31? I’m starting to wonder….
Hi Deanna. In terms of a source for my statement that the buildup of folic acid would not be due to MTHFR, the very article that we are commenting on is one source. Notice how he wrote that conversion of folic acid requires dihydrofolate reductase and that “The low activity of this enzyme [DHFR] in the human liver, combined with a high intake of folic acid, may result in unnatural levels of unmetabolized folic acid entering the systemic circulation.” You can also look in any resource that shows the process of how folic acid is converted to methylfolate (e.g.,http://advances.nutrition.org/content/3/1/21.full see in particular figure 1). It is basically a five step process, and MTHFR affects the last step. You can also read more about DHFR at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2730961/ I hope this helps.
Hi David, Super-sized thank you for your informative response. My posse of Physicians have never been sure why the strokes are happening but have a suspicion that it’s due to the double mutation of C677T and it’s potential blood clott issues. Thanks again, Cathy
Hi Cathy, Low potassium is also linked to strokes. Its a major player in the brain with memory, and synapse plasticity. All the electrolites Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium are in on it. Also reduces alzheimers.
Does niacin block it? Not sure, but they say if you get too much folic acid to take niacin to counter balance it.
Well, Sir, thanks, however, if I eat even a bite with Folic Acid, I am sick for days or weeks! Severe migraines, dizzy spells, I can not think, spell, communicate well or function, period. So while you THINK you understand, you do not. Sorry.
I have just the opposite response. I am heterozygous and have stroke like symptoms and dizziness unless I increase my folic acid!
Hi Mary. Sorry but you don’t seem to have understood anything that I wrote, and what you have said in no way contradicts what I wrote. If you really have such a sensitivity to folic acid, it probably has nothing to do with MTHFR. Good luck with your health, though.
Hi David, I altered the importance of staying clear of folic acid / pteroyl-l-glutamate because of what i’ve seen from the studies. It might as well be the plague.
2014: Contemporary issues surrounding folic Acid fortification initiatives.
2014: Folic acid supplementation promotes mammary tumor progression in a rat model.
Basically anything you search for on PubMed about it… there’s quite a lot.
Hi Michael. I started my original post by saying “I have no interest in defending the use of folic acid”, and I don’t. My point was that the described facts regarding the relationship between MTHFR polymorphisms and folic acid were incorrect (it was described as a complete inability to metabolize folic acid when in reality it is a partial reduction in the ability to convert folic acid all the way into methylfolate). Furthermore, the initial conversion of folic acid into dihydrofolate doesn’t even involve MTHFR; it is a different enzyme. Thus, the presence of unmetabolized folic acid on one’s body would actually be unrelated to MTHFR. This doesn’t mean that it is a good thing, but rather that the risks may apply to people whether or not they have MTHFR polymorphims.
Thank you David! Yes, this a commonly held misconception. MTHFR does not actually metabolise folic acid. DHFR does. So if you have working copies of DHFR, folic acid can be metabolised up until you reach saturation (supplementing too much) – which is the case for any supplement.
David, synthetic folic acid differs from natural folates – the soluble vitamin B9. Due to very low activity of DHFR enzyme the unmetabolised part of FA enters into blood stream and builds up.
Bailey SW, Ayling JE. (2009) The extremely slow and variable activity of dihydrofolate reductase in human liver and its implications for high folic acid intake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. 8;106(36):15424-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2730961/pdf/zpq15424.pdf
Folic Acid occurs as a yellow or yellowish-orange crystalline powder and is very slightly soluble in water and insoluble in alcohol. http://www.drugs.com/pro/folic-acid.html
Hi Gohar. I am aware of the research that you cited, but it has nothing to do with MTHFR (which is what I was talking about). As you noted, it is DHFR that might lead to unmetabolized folic acid. DHFR is a different enzyme and a different gene.
David, you seem to be conflating folic acid and folate in your replies. Folic acid has been demonstrated, in excessive amounts, to cause problems even where MTHFR mutations are not present. Apparently when it isn’t adequately broken down, it actually blocks folate receptors, preventing more natural/active forms from being used at all.
So in someone whose ability to process even natural folate is impaired, much less the synthetic version that requires extra steps to break down, it is not only not helpful; it is actually harmful, building up so quickly that we’re no longer able to process folate from natural sources.
No, I haven’t conflated anything. I’m not even sure how you could get that from what I wrote. My main point, in fact, was almost exactly the same thing that you just wrote in response to someone else: ” We don’t have an *absence* of the ability to convert; we have a *reduced* ability to convert.”
Hi, I was wondering what brands of flour and baking mixes are safe to use when making breads and pancakes?
Andrea Post author
Hi Heather – you might want to look at gluten free ones – check the label for fortification. If it says folic acid, thiamine, etc. then it means those have the synthetic vitamins. Try natural food stores…usually have untreated varieties. Always read your labels. I don’t have a list of specific brands – and also please note that ingredients change all the time. Some of my favorites are now no longer an option.
I recently had the Boston heart diagnostic done and it shows I have one copy of the gene. What does that mean? Does a person with one copy have half the problems and should or do I take the same procautions? I really don’t know anything about this yet.
Andrea Post author
Often people with only one mutation still need to take the same precautions…just depends on you and your health, environment, other SNPs, etc.
Just found out I have MTHFR homozygous, and I am trying to conceive. I’ve gotten the Seeking Health prenatal vitamins with the methelated B; however, I’m concerned about the huge amount of vitamin E in the vitamin. I would like to alternate these prenatals with an organic B complex vitamin. If it says “folate” on the label (and it’s organic) it is naturally derived, so I should be able to absorb it, correct???? Thank you for your help!
Andrea Post author
My understanding is that you need L-5MTHF (methylfolate) specifically for it to be absorbed completely if you have the MTHFR mutations…
Dana, folic acid cannot be organic because it does not exist in nature. Only folinic acid exists – which is in all green foods. The term folate is a blanket term covering anything with ‘fol’ at the start and can mean anything. You should just eat a lot of spinach or some other foods with the right amino acids. Spinach has folinic acid, b6, zinc… Quinoa has vit E. Theres published medical docs which say autism increases very substantially (an immune/methylation issue) when the mother has flu issues/immune problem, or folic acid in the first trimester, or vaccine in the first trimester. Just feel your best. Dont listen to ad campaigns telling you to take folic acid or vaccine. Most sure-fire way to have a miscarriage or autistic child.
Mike, you seem to really have an understanding of this whole thing! I am trying desperately to figure out what to feed my daughter after discovering these mutations and others. Would appreciate your advice as she seems to crave sugar! Organic bread ok? Suppose to limit sulfer. Always eating broccoli, cabbage etc. Who knew? Thanks!
Hi Debbie, if you can find some bread that doesn’t have folic acid in it, as mandated by law to have it in in some countries, then the only other thing is gluten digestion. Cysteine is what breaks down gluten. To help keep it anti-oxidised and to reduce sulfites, which is what it is when its oxidised, you need Selenium. Selenium also helps the thyroid, immune system, gut, and social aspiration and thinking. It works with cysteine – to make glurathione, selenium for thyroid t4/t3 hormone, CSP cys string protein in the brain, and the thioredoxin immune system cycles. Brazil nuts have the most by about 100x. About 5 / day. Eggs and potassium also. Potass/sodium helps aldosterone acid/alkaline bal. Eggs for molybdenum. Sugar, esp fructose is the main reducer for glutamate/msg/aspartate(artifical sugars). Refined sugar is bad. Fruit sugar..lemons oranges hugs… Good.
Raisins have fructose, b6, zinc all in one. B6 helps to produce cysteine, reduce peripheral neuropathy (sensitive skin), also helps stop methionine, which is intended for the adrenals, from turning into homocysteic acid which is glutamate – nmda agonist. B6 deficiencies are linked to paranoia and schiz. Similar with b12. Lithium helps B vitamin absorption.
Hi Michael. Your statement that folinic acid is the only form of folate that occurs in nature, and is in all green foods is inconsistent with the nutrition literature. At least according to that literature, there are in fact numerous forms of natural folate. As noted by Finglas and Wright (2002). “Unlike folic acid, naturally occurring folates in foods and body tissues are mainly 5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-pteroylpolyglutamates…” (p. 189) and “The two most abundant natural folate classes are the 5-methyltetrahydrofolates (5-methyl THF), which is widely distributed in all foods, and the 5- or 10-formyltetrahydrofolates (5- or 10-formyl THF), which tends to be found in foods of animal origin.” (p. 191). The key is that they are referring to natural folates (plural). Also, the chemical name for folinic acid is 5-formyl tetrahydrofolate so also according to that source, it is found primarily in foods of animal origin (as opposed to being “in all green foods”). It would be other forms of natural folates in greens. In the big picture, though, these are all different from folic acid and are all better for us.
Finglas, P. M., & Wright, A. J. A. (2002). Folate bioavailability and health. Phytochemistry Reviews, 1, 189–198.
Hi David, the names are used as blanket terms. My understanding is that Folinic acid would be anything that is pre-methylation (THF) and naturally found in nature. Including other peoples/animals tissue. Post-methylation “5-methyltetrahydrofolates” (MTHF) are what they ‘evolve’ into, but not really “folate” any more. Folic Acid is “Pteroyl-l-glutamate”, this does not break down as well as the others, besides also leaving you with more glutamate/msg in your system,… and there is such a thing as UMFA – Unmetabolised Folic Acid, and this leads to cancer and tumour growth – this has been mandated in all wheat products in some countries… and we wonder why cancer (and suicide) are basically the number 1 and 2 killers.
In 2007: Folic acid metabolism in human subjects revisited: potential implications for proposed mandatory folic acid fortification in the UK.
Hi Michael. The only blanket term is folate, which applies to both folic acid and naturally occurring folates (see https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/). Folinic acid is one specific form of folate, but again is not the only form found in food. As noted in my original post, MTHF is still a folate and is abundant in food (i.e., “The two most abundant natural folate classes are the 5-methyltetrahydrofolates (5-methyl THF), which is widely distributed in all foods”, Finglas & Wright, 2002).
Hi David, the quote you used is not on the site. “5-methyltetrahydrofolates (5-methyl THF)” is something folate breaks down into in the bloodstream/plasma. They don’t stick this into food that i know of, they use Pteroyl-l-glutamate and they cover up the name (ie: as folate/folic acid) so that it sounds less like MSG, but it really is similar. This has the problem breaking down through DHFR, and this is linked to UMFA (unmetabolised folic acid), cancer, tumour growth, autism. It is probably linked to some gene change involving MTHFR but that requires some further research.
Michael, I’m not sure why you don’t see it, but my quote was from the 4th sentence of my above post dated (August 1, 2015 at 11:22 PM), and I never said 5-methyltetrahydrofolates were added to food; I said that they occur naturally in food. That is the whole point, in response to your initial [inaccurate] statement that only folinic acid occurs in food. I’ll repeat it again, to be clear. As noted by Finglas and Wright (2002), “The two most abundant natural folate classes are the 5-methyltetrahydrofolates (5-methyl THF), which is widely distributed in all foods, and the 5- or 10-formyltetrahydrofolates (5- or 10-formyl THF), which tends to be found in foods of animal origin.” (p. 191). That methylfolate occurs naturally in food is also in one of the articles that you cited above (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25580388). Notice in their Figure 1 that they refer to “natural dietary methylfolate”.
I recently found out I have MTHFR and I’m on an active form of folic acid now(methylfolate). What is the active B12 and other b vitamins I should be looking for? I realized that what I have at home is the inactive B complex.
Andrea Post author
Hi Deanna – the active forms are:
B12 (see this article)
Riboflavin 5 Phosphate
Is is safe to assume organic foods do not contain folic acid, since it is a synthetic? Is it safe to eat organic cereals, pastas, etc. if you only want methylfolate and not folic acid?
Andrea Post author
In theory, yes…I always check the label, however. They are supposed to tell you. Be wary of any “enriched” flour.
I am so excited to come across your blog! My husband has MTHFR and we avoid folic acid, but you have some new insights I am excited to learn more.
I noticed that you are heterozygous for mthfr; so apparently even heterozygous mthfr can cause the problems you have described?
Andrea Post author
Yes it definitely can, Melissa
Do you have celiac disease? I’m just curious why you would avoid gluten unless you have celiac disease. Also, I’m curious why one with mthfr would still be advised to eat folate. Folic acid gets converted to folate in the folate cycle, so shouldn’t I avoid natural folate as well, since neither can be broken down efficiently?
Andrea Post author
As regular flour is fortified (usually), going gluten free can help you avoid a lot of folic acid in breads and processed food. Many people also report an improvement to health after going gluten free, but this is usually related to allergies aggravated by leaky gut, etc. The latter are usually related problems for people with MTHFR. Dr. Ben Lynch has also advised going gluten-free. I hear you on the elimination of folate as well; I have heard others say that the folate can’t be broken down. I need to get more info on that myself – at this stage I haven’t given up folate foods because many healthy foods have folate in them.
Gluten can be broken down by N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC acid) in foods, and by Selenium foods. Selenium foods work through Thioredoxin Reductase to convert sulfites and “cystine” back into Cysteine/NAC. This helps produce Glutathione which prevents leaky gut.
Folic Acid is Pteroyl-l-glutamate. This is chemically similar to MSG, and is proven in a number of studies to be cancer causing (UMFA – unmetabolised folic acid), but not initally in mice as their make up is slightly different. In progressed cancers in mice, it also promotes the cancer. — “Folinic Acid” is the natural folate found in all green foods. This really helps, and absorption is much better.
Impressive… how / where did you learn all of that!? I am trying to find out how to detox folic acid and heavy metals from the body.
The information is out there. Theres lots of published medical documents on the effects. Its a sham that almost no one else knows and doctors arent taught it. Sugar is the primary reducer of glutamate/msg/folic acid. The best is from fruit or just better love & trust (sugar from your family). Glutamate raises insulin which then absorbs all the remaining sugar in order to lower glutamate so the best thing to do is to make sure you dont have any glutamate, inc glutamate similar chemicals like homocysteic acid from poor b vitamin absorption which lithium helps …and… SSC from poor molybdenum/copper balance. Lova and trust uses the Antiporter X pathway to directly reduce glutamate with sulfites/cystine to Cysteine which can then be used by the heart with taurine.
Hi Ladies! Just wanted to share some info- I finally came across a great prenatal vitamin with Folic Acid source as Methyltetrahydrofolate- known as the best source absorbed for people with MTHFR. It’s called PRENATAL +DHA by the company Zahler.
I’m hoping you will feel as good as I do while on this great supplement! Loads of Luck to all of you- and thanks Andrea for all this truly amazing help, advice, and ideas on this topic.
I am wondering if consuming Montmorillonite or Bentonite clay would help bind the folic acid and get it out of your body. I know that consuming 1 tsp. per day in your water will bind toxins and heavy metals that we consume in our food (along with many carcinogens). It might work on folic acid. It depends on the ion charge of folic acid. I literally just found out today that I have this condition along with Reactive Hypoglycemia, and I have Hashimoto’s Disease with very low thyroid. I am very scared as my mother has already had problems with clots and they think I may have had a mimic stroke in December (pain in right arm and tingling/numbness in lips). Thanks for all the wonderful information. Look into the clay thing. I brush my teeth with it (mixed with activated charcoal and essential oils) and take it internally every day.
Andrea Post author
Thanks for sharing, Tanya – I actually was just reading about Bentonite clay for something else and am curious about it. Have not thought about it binding folic acid but it’s worth a shot!
I am really concerned that my endocrinologist is not up to date on everything. She is prescribing me to take folic acid and by all accounts that I am reading I should not be taking it. How will I know if it is the right thing or not? I read something today that said something about mythelinized? I am probably spelling it wrong. I literally found out yesterday that I have this gene mutation. My mother does as well. All of my sisters got tested and I was the “lucky” one who inherited it.
Folic acid is Pteroyl-l-glutamate. The primary method for reducing Glutamate is sugar, hence why you have hypoglycemia. – You’ve ran out.
I’m not sure exactly how but Pyrroles also cause a B6 block, stopping methylation (its pathway) from turning Homocysteine (with B6) into Cysteine. With the B6 block you have lots of Cystine/Sulfite (oxidised Cysteine) and you use up Selenium -which is also the primary chemical for the thyroid- to anti oxidise the Cystine/Sulfites. So the answer to a hypothyroid is Selenium (Brazil Nuts), plus some B6.
But apparently my thyroid is out because of Hashimoto’s Disease. It is supposedly going completely out and I will eventually have to have it removed. Do you think it is still possible to “feed” it into functioning? Is there a particular B-6 I should look for or foods that I can get it in? I’m trying to do as much as possible through diet, but I can’t eat Brazil Nuts on a daily basis and hope to lose the 75 lbs. I need to lose.
T4 Hormone is the thyroid’s “Storage” chemical, T3 Hormone is the thyroid’s “Active” chemical. Selenium is the main thing required to convert the T4 to T3. Hashimotos is just a type of autoimmune disorder. THe disorder wont improve without Selenium anyway, whether you have your thyroid or not. You can’t lose by trying it. Brazil Nuts have the most Selenium in them by about 100x. You only need 5 or so / day.
I just eat rice for B6. Eggs have B2, Molybdenum, Cysteine which is great. Citrus fruits for Vit C, and fruit sugar. Potassium & Sodium also helps (potato chips, or spinach). Sugar is the main thing to reduce glutamate. Try it for a month, some effects you should notice within seconds after eating. If you feel sleepy but not fatigued then thats some positive short term symptoms.
Vegetarian diets are almost always fat-free.
I will get some Selenium this weekend then. It can only make it better. I was following a mostly vegan diet before I found out about the reactive hypoglycemia. My doctor told me I needed more protein at each meal so I started eating meat again. I have not felt as good as I did when following a vegan diet, but I am certain that most of the protein sources are “fortified” with the very things I am not supposed to have. My doctor also put me on a weight loss drug called Contrave because nothing else has helped me lose weight. I am not really seeing amazing results with it, but I am going to give it a few more months before I give up on it. I have learned so much in the past week that my brain hurts.
Brazil nuts are low carb so probably good nut to eat if trying to lose weight.
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Hi, I currently have Chronic Lyme, Hashimotos, MCS, MTHFR, CFS, Fibromyalgia, etc. I am trying to figure out what types of B vitamin I should be taking to help me. I know that Folic Acid is bad and that I need Folate instead. However, I am still very confused on what I should be taking. I had a very knowledgable health coach tell me that she thought that I should be taking the following to help with my MCS/MTHFR/Methylation issues –
2) Hyrdroxocobalamine – (she said this type of b12 that is broken down the most and best for MTHFR
3) Molybedenum – (she said that most people with mthfr have issues breaking down sulfur as well). Are these healthy for MTHFR or should I be considering other forms of Vitamin B? I saw above that you wrote “If you have MTHFR you want the active forms of these vitamins, which means specific types of methylfolate instead of Folic Acid (see the linked article before purchasing active B9 supplements), methylcobalamin and pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P), which is active B6.” but I am still confused on if these are in the same ballpark.
Andrea Post author
I can’t advise you personally on supplements but sounds like you are getting good advice with these.
Folic acid is Pteroyl-l-glutamate, so it’s like the MSG of Folates, and isn’t found in nature. “Folinic Acid” is natural folate found in green foods.
Typically I’ve found high sulfites & pyruvates block zinc & B6 uptake causing CBS issues and potentially methylation issues. Gut pain after eating (leaky gut from low glutathione) can also cause a spike in Cortisol, draining methylation pathways, causing paranoia, twitchyness and stimming. Feeding more methylation will do nothing but cause, a bit more focus, pain killing, and stimming.
Reducing sulfites, pyruvates/pyrroles, SSC (negatively effecting gut flora), and increasing Cysteine & Methionine anti-oxidisation and uptake, Cysteine progression to the safer Sulfate, Taurine (heart health), and to Glutathione (the cheif antioxidant, preventing leaky gut) – comes down to Selenium intake (Brazil nuts, tuna) for antioxidisation, and to molybdenum as you said (eggs, etc) for proper Sulfite Oxidase function, for their uptake.
Selenium also improves the thyroid. Other things that help are potassium & sodium (potato chips), and magnesium (rice, etc), and natural sugar to reduce Glutamate. Fake sugur (aspartame,phenyllalamines acutally increase glutamate more). Folic acid (pteroyl-l-glutamate) increases glutamate and excitotoxibility more too. Same as MSG.
Sleepiness increasing (at first), and peripheral neuropathy decreasing (sensitivity to arms, legs and back) are the recovery symptoms.
Is whole wheat flour also fortified? I was at Whole Foods today and saw that all the white flours obviously were (because they said “enriched” or stated with which vitamins they were), but the whole wheat flours just said “whole wheat flour” under the ingredient list. The whole wheat breads often did not have vitamins listed under the ingredient panel either. I didn’t buy anything because I was worried I would accidentally buy one that was fortified (like I just did with a bunch of soup!). I would like to eat whole wheat products.
Andrea Post author
I would look at the label, Sara – if it says it includes “Folic acid, niacin, thiamine, etc.” then it is fortified. These will be listed in the nutrition facts box (usually).
So much interested information . I feel very confused , I have been diagnosed with MTHFR after 3rd miscarriage and my Doctor prescribed me folic acid high dose of 5mg per day. I have been taking since April and have been told that with future pregnancy I should not have any problem .
I had another 2x miscarriages , in July 2014 and one in Sept. 2014, also I was taking penicillin and Heparin from day one , when we found out I was pregnant.
I was reading in more than one article , to avoid folic acid and use folate…
Shall I stop taking folic acid and start folate only ,or could i take both?
is there anyone in similar situation , I would love to hear their opinion / story.
Also , I have 2 yearl old girl already and had absolutely fantastic pregnancy with her, got pregnant 1st time and carry full term without any complications. Thank you Ika
Andrea Post author
Hi Ika – this post on pregnancy and MTHFR should answer all your questions
Hi Andrea –
Thanks for this article. Is it important to avoid foods fortified with B12 as well?
My understanding is that you want to avoid all the synthetic forms of the B vitamins. So if it’s a ton of cyanocobalamin I would say yes.
Thank you for your website! I was just diagnosed with compound heterogenous mutation yesterday and have been overwhelmed by the websites with the lists of horrible diseases and especially the autism risk for children. Do you have any more information on autism and mthfr? It seems to me that there is an elevated risk but it is not necessarily the cause of autism.
Secondly, I plan on changing my diet immediately and was wondering what to look for on the label. Is folate ok or does it have to be methylfolate? Thanks!
Andrea Post author
Hi Maria – everything I know about the autism connection is in this article. As for labeling, if the label says folic acid I believe (but am not sure) that it’s the synthetic version. Unfortunately when labels just say “folate” there is no way to tell. If folate is not listed I think you are safe to assume there is no folic acid. Unless you are looking at a vitamin or supplement bottle, I doubt you will see “methylfolate” listed anywhere. Good luck!
It is interesting to learn this connection with ASD. I have 2 sons and both are high functioning ASD. I was just diagnosed and now think I should have them tested. Could my having the mutation cause my sons to be autistic? I’ve often wondered what could have caused it. The hard thing is because of their autism they are very picky eaters and won’t eat the things that are “clean” and there is no “making” them. My youngest would starve before putting fruit into his mouth, much less a vegetable. He at them as a baby and one day just stopped. It is so hard. I know what they should eat but they will not. They don’t understand bargaining.
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Andrea, Cysteine (Cranberries) is the answer for leaky gut, gluten intolerance, low Taurine (heart/muscle control), and inhibited synapses.
-Cysteine is used in high doses by hospitals to cure leaky gut.
-Cysteine is used by chef’s to break down gluten in preparing meals (for mixing purposes).
-Cysteine is 1 of 3 amino acids required to make Glutathione, the cheif anti-oxidant (low Glutahione means high leaky gut). The other 2 chemicals are Glutamate and Glycine, both typically high. Glycine encourages inhibited synapses, glutamate strong synapses as well as muscle building/repairing.
Lack of information out there on cranberries is a conspiracy theory…
Michael, first of all, who are you?!— You are a guru! = ) Our Naturopath is prescribing Glycine for my son’s anxiety. He is homozygous mthfr. Are you saying glycine is bad for him? He has trouble focusing and your post sounds like glycine would make that worse?
Hi Julie, I’ve read a lot more since then. Cysteine actually oxidises into Sulfites, so it’s also good to intake Selenium to keep it anti-oxidised (through Thioredoxin Reductase). You can actually just take Selenium foods instead.
In the information I found, Glycine gives you the ‘stern’ concentration, but doesn’t necessarily help you focus. Cysteine gives you a lot of aspirations (similar to what you have if you just fell in love with someone) and helps memory absorption, but Selenium is much better to take because it returns sulfites back into Cysteine basically.
In the last month I’ve found Potassium really helps good bacteria grow in your gut (and appendix where its stored). Its also an electrolite with Sodium. Those 2 are used in Gatorade with Magnesium + Calcium. So that might help as well.
curious if you have a list of premade items that you have found not to have the folic acid. I spent hours at the store today looking at gluten/dairy/soy free milks and I found lots but they all had folic acid but did not say enriched or fortified. could the folic acid be from natural sources? I can’t see myself making my own almond milk daily. Also I love cereal. but again couldn’t find anything that didn’t say folic acid. 🙁 I eat everything else pretty much fresh but there are just some snack foods I enjoy. glutino pretzels, potato chips, cookies here and there. do you know of a site that have researched all this if you haven’t? I am almost afraid to eat anything. everything has folic acid or b12 natural or added.
Andrea Post author
Unfortunately I don’t have a list, Theresa. I’m a dedicated label reader. If it is a processed food then most likely it’s synthetic folic acid. I haven’t seen any websites that have researched this either…there are just too many products. In general, however, I don’t find it too difficult to find alternatives if I’m shopping at places like Whole Foods.
Thank you thank you thank you! I was dx last week and have found folic acid added to everything from Emergen-C to my iron supplements, which are now in the trash bin. I’m wondering how many people who assume they have a gluten intolerance, really just need to avoid folic acid. It is disheartening that Pfizer, who now owns Emergen-C also produces medicines purchased for health issues those with MTHFR gene mutations can develop.
Teresa, you should try looking at the Paul Newman line of food. I know he has crackers, pizza, and Oreo type cookies. They are daily free and I know the pizza uses whole wheat unfortified. I think the whole premise behind his food line was nothing artificial. You look into it.
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I was wondering–if the govt requires all these bread products to be fortified, is it possible to find products that are unfortified? I mean I can grind my own flour to make bread, but I don’t see myself learning how to make pasta… but I will really miss it!! Thanks. Sarah in Austin TX
Andrea Post author
The gluten-free flours usually aren’t fortified and I’ve also found unenriched flour at Whole Foods (and I assume you could find it at similar stores). Good luck!
I hear you- I LOVE pasta, and am now having to find non- enriched products too…
Actually, Pasta is SUPER easy to make… a bit time consuming, but you can do up a big batch with the help of some friends, and then freeze it for later!
Recipe: 4 eggs, 2 cups of flour. That’s it!
Lots of mixing and kneading… add flour as needed until not sticky.
Roll out thin. ( a pasta machine is a fabulous invention that is worth the price!! )
Keep pieces of dough moist in a bowl with a damp cloth on top til you use them.
Cut into squares for ravioli, or thin strips for fetuccini. ( don’t worry if they dry out at this stage )
( for this stage, I hang a string across some cupboard handles to hang the noodles on so I don’t use
up too much space)
Then boil as you would normally- they may take less time though.
Add a bit of oil once the noodles are drained, and toss, so they don’t stick together.
Give it a try- even if you don’t have the energy ever to do this more than once, it’s definately fun (and a little messy) to try, and the fresh pasta is amazing!!!
Andrea Post author
Thanks so much for suggesting this, Christine! I actually have a pasta roller attachment for my Kitchen Aid so I have been wanting to try it…nothing like fresh pasta…
Making pasta is not that hard just the rising time can be a bit much depending on your recipe…if you need or want a quick option look for Tinkyada rice pasta…it is gluten free and not fortified …it also seems -to my family- to be the closest in texture to traditional pasta and it comes in macaroni, spaghetti, and linguine …some box stores carry it but most health food stores carry it
Andrea Post author
Thanks for the tip, Dyana!
Sarah, Making pasta is much easier than making bread! 🙂
Dawn @ Prickly Mom
Hi Andrea! I hope you’re well. I was Googling “can the body rid itself of unmetabolized folic acid” and this was one of the top results. Do you know the answer to my query? 🙂
Also, I just posted this on the new FB page my sister and I have started, called I Hate Folic Acid (I also bought the domain and we will be starting a blog).
Sidebar: you mentioned the 800 mcg of folic acid you have taken in the past as a prenatal. I’m just curious: did it make you nauseous? I took 1 gram a day, as advised, throughout both of my pregnancies, and never got over “morning sickness.” (Of course this was before MTHFR was on anyone’s radar). It was so bad during my second pregnancy that my OB put me on Zofran for nausea. Looking back, it just makes me angry that my little boy had to be exposed to that extra junk in my body.
Andrea Post author
Hi Dawn! Just liked your new FB page – thanks for sharing this post there =)
It didn’t make me nauseous…in fact, I didn’t know what was going on until I had a miscarriage and then my body started crashing shortly after that. It’s hard to describe. I just went through some really strong hormonal changes but then also could not recover from the m/c. When I had a lot of bloodwork done by a specialist, I noticed the high folate and then tested positive for comp hetero MTHFR a couple of months later. My homocysteine was also high at 9.4
Let me know what you find on how the body gets rid of unmetabolized folic acid! I am curious about how long it takes and what we can do to help it along…
So happy to find your blog! I was recently diagnosed with Compound Heterozygous MTHFR Deficiency (almost two weeks ago) and I was diagnosed with Hypothyroid disease four years ago, and I’m TTC. So, we seem to have a lot in common! I was prescribed MetanX, and baby Aspirin by my fertility doctor. I’ve started trying to avoid folic acid as much as possible, and increasing folate from natural sources. I’ve been slowly trying methods of detox (I feel like I’m one who really has problems with detox…). My next step is to have my homocysteine levels checked, and find a doctor who can help me manage my MTHFR Deficiency. In your experience, what type of doctor should I see? I am a little clueless about what type of doctor may be knowledgeable enough about MTHFR. Thanks for sharing your story. It helps to feel like I’m not alone! As I continue to learn more and more, I may have more questions for you! Thanks in advance. 😉
Andrea Post author
Hi Kaela – glad you found this site! =) A great starting place for a doctor would be Dr. Ben Lynch’s practitioner list
You can ask any personal health-related questions over on our discussion forums as I don’t answer those in the blog comments section. It’s free to register and post. Good luck with your learning! Andrea
Just diagnosed with MTHFR and my Dr prescribed 1 mg of folic acid. It seems that folic acid is a big no no. I am I correct in this. I’m confused. Please help.
Andrea Post author
You are correct. Please do not take any folic acid or consume foods fortified with it. You want the active forms of folate (methylfolate, for example) or food folate. I also highly recommend that you find a new doctor right away. There’s a list on the Resources page (see main menu of this site).
I have been diagnosed for 2 weeks and prescribed Deplin, not a settling in my stomache. Any suggestions or thoughts, how to’s and what not to’s. Thank you!!!!
Andrea Post author
Hi Janill – It’s really impossible for me to make recommendations to you as I am not a doctor and have no information on your personal health situation. Deplin could be too high a dose for you. I’m opening up an online community here in the next week or so and I’ll send you an invite when it’s live. Perhaps you can chat with others about their treatment protocols. There’s often a lot more to it than just taking methylfolate. Please visit our resources page and see the links under methylation for some treatment protocols and explanations. Drs Yasko and Lynch will be particularly helpful. Good luck!
I am so glad I found your site. Things are so much clearer for me now. I also have MTHFR, and I lost two babies because of it, and I also cannot get pregnant easily, we are trying for 5 years now. After I read your site I completely changed my diet. My doctor only gave me baby aspirin to take every day, and when I asked him about folates and B vitamins he agreed with everything you described here on your site. But I have a problem, I live in a small country Bosnia and Hercegovina and I searched for these vitamins everywhere but unfortunatelly they are not selling here. So I decided to buy them online but there are so many of them and I really do not know which to choose. Can you please name some of the vitamins that you think are good so that I can search and order them online.
Thank you so much for everything that you write here, I was lost without it 🙂
Andrea Post author
Hi Iva – I am so happy to hear that my website has helped you!
I purchase my supplements from two specific providers, both shipping internationally through third-party shipping companies. Just go to their websites and look for “International Orders.”
Professional Supplement Center
and Seeking Health, developed by Dr. Ben Lynch, the leading MTHFR expert
I’ve also heard some international people say they order from iHerb but I don’t have any experience with them.
I wish you a lot of luck on your conception journey – I’m in the same boat as you are…still trying. All the best, baby dust… Andrea
Someone with Asperger's and CFS/ME
Since 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been requiring food manufacturers to add folic acid to grain products like cereal, bread, flour, pasta and rice. The U.S. Government under the Obama Administration is all about change. Isn’t it time for a change as far as the FDA policy regarding adding folic acid to food products is concerned, as this is a counterproductive health-ruining policy affecting around 40% of the U.S. population. As of January 10, 2014, the United States has a total resident population of 317,440,000. So how many people does this FDA policy affect? Yes, perhaps something like 126,976,000 people in the USA alone.
Andrea Post author
I couldn’t agree more! I think something that those of us who are MTHFR aware need to do is push awareness and work at raising money for studies to prove the negative effects. This is something I hope to get more involved in this year.
Just found your site. I have MTHFR and my doctor recently told me to take folic acid, B complex, and baby aspirin. Every day. For the rest of my life. After reading your article and I am totally confused. Thoughts?
Andrea Post author
Hi Joelle, The old way of addressing MTHFR was to advise patients to take lots of extra folic acid, seemingly in the hopes that the body would just process some of it and in this way one could overcome the enzyme deficiency. What we’re learning now from Dr. Ben Lynch and others is that folic acid (which is synthetic and not the same as methylfolate) may linger unprocessed in the body, especially with the homozygous mutations. This can lead to adverse health effects including cancer (please refer to published studies and resources linked in the article). The advised course of treatment is to take methylfolate instead, which completely bypasses the enzyme deficiency (the body doesn’t have to convert it to anything, it just uses it). At least that is my understanding. And for the B-complex, you want to make sure that you’re taking the active forms of the B vitamins (B12=methylcobalamin, B6 = P5P, B5 = Pantethine, etc.) The baby aspirin recommendation is correct. Watch out for folic acid in your B complex, even if it has some of the other active B’s); if you want to take a mix of folate vitamins you can do folinic acid (again, not the same as folic acid) + methylfolate.
Your doctor is simply not up to date on the latest protocols for MTHFR. Happens all the time.
Please note that this is not intended to be medical advice. I am merely passing along the information from leading doctors in the field like Dr Amy Yasko and Dr Ben Lynch. Please refer to the article for links to these sources.
Dawn @ PricklyMom
My sister and I are new to the MTHFR club (we are both in our early 40s), and were just talking today about how absolutely sick we both were on prenatal vitamins. With my younger son, I was nauseous and had to take Zofran for my entire pregnancy. I bet it was too much folic acid!
Thank you for writing about fortified foods! I would have never given that a second thought; it’s something that’s so ingrained in our food consciousness. Wow.
Andrea Post author
Hi Dawn – So glad you found my site! I was loading up on folic acid and cyanocobalamin last year when we were trying to get pregnant. By April I was completely ill – and I had a miscarriage in February. Folic Acid strikes again! Once I got on the right supplements I felt so much better – and I’ll be reporting on some amazing results from switching to methylfolate in tomorrows post =)
I am so glad I found your site. I recently found out that I have MTHFR and was prescribed 4 mg of folic acid daily by my RE! Now I am freaked out because I realize I shouldn’t be taking that but folate. What is a good folate supplement? I know that growing babies need lots of folate in order to reduce the risk of birth defects. I have been TTC for almost 3 years, have done 3 IVFs, have had 2 chemical pregnancies and I am convinced now that I am not staying pregnant because of these autoimmune issues. I also have elevated levels of natural killer cells. I am pretty sure that between the MTHFR and the killer cells that is why I cannot stay pregnant. Now I just need to find a doctor who will treat me for those instead of the typical RE who really doesn’t know much about either.
Thanks for all that you share on this blog.
Andrea Post author
Hi Laura – so glad you found my site too! I am shaking my head at your RE because prescribing high dose folic acid for MTHFR is an outdated (but sadly very common) response to a MTHFR diagnosis. What you want is methylfolate, which can luckily be found in many over the counter supplements. I take the Seeking Health Optimal prenatal and you can order it online. Please also see my post about methylated vitamins because you’ll want to be getting enough B12 (as methylcobalamin) and checking those levels before starting (watch the video I link to there for all the info). I have to mention also that there are many other methylation SNPs that could be important for you. Examining these requires further genetic testing so it’s something you may want to look into, especially if you don’t feel good on the methylated vitamins. All of the information I am telling you here comes from MTHFR.net, which I highly recommend visiting to explore these issues in further detail. I also recommend Dr. Amy Yasko’s work (see resources page). I’ve been doing this regimen from the first of July and am now starting to see many improvements (it can take four months to improve egg quality and see the effects of supplementation at the cellular level, so I recommend patience here).
Regarding the elevated Natural Killer Cells, I refer to the book ‘Is Your Body Baby-Friendly?’ by Dr. Alan Beer. Treatment is available for this and may differ depending on what type of NK cells you are having issues with. What you want is a good reproductive immunologist – perhaps check out the INCIID website and use the discussion forums there to find a doctor in your local area?
Good luck and all the best!
For people with MTHFR, I certainly agree with you about the need to avoid folic acid in supplements, because those are big doses of folic acid. I think the situation is more equivocal when we’re talking about the amount of folic acid added to enriched foods. People with MTHFR don’t have a total inability to convert folic acid to active forms of folate. Even people homozygous for C677T still have about 30% of the normal conversion ability, so very small doses of folic acid will get converted.
When a food is enriched, I don’t know what quantities of folic acid are added. But I suspect the quantities are miniscule enough that a MTHFRer could convert them to active folate, so it may not be necessary to worry about 100% avoidance of the folic acid in them. Of course if a person ate a lot of enriched foods, then the total amount consumed of folic acid might be a concern.
Thank you very much for your input, Lynn. The studies I was researching for this post mentioned that there is an overall concern by many that even people without MTHFR are consuming way too much Folic Acid daily because so many products are fortified, especially in the older population who may be more susceptible to cancers. The Folic Acid is allegedly not good for anyone in very large quantities. The problem, I believe, lies in how much enriched and processed food we eat as a society, especially in the United States. Plus many people take daily multivitamins that also contain this substance so they could be unknowingly getting too much. So that is why I am cautioning against it as my understanding is that the synthetic Folic Acid can also become inhibiting against the active form. Please do let me know if that is incorrect though!
According to the Spina Bifida Association, the “FDA requires that 40 mcg of folic acid be added per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of bread and other grain products…breakfast cereals do have the full recommended amount of 400 mcg in a single serving.” In Australia, they add 0.135 mg of folate per 100g of bread according to Wikipedia. The Harvard article also mentions that many nutrition bars contain the full daily recommendation. So I am really advocating that people check their labels.
I believe someone made a typo there. The FDA site says 140, not 40 mcg, “The final rule required manufacturers to add 140 micrograms of folic acid for every 100 grams of grain product.”