Folic Acid - The Dangers

Serum Unmetabolized Folic Acid: The Straw That Broke Dihydrofolate Reductase's Back?

The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 145, Issue 3, March 2015, Pages 387–390, The Journal of Nutrition

Published: 21 January 2015

The common belief is that we 'need' Folic Acid, which is marketed/packaged as B9 or Folate.

Fun Fact

Folic Acid is also referred to as vitamin B9. Despite the number,

there are only eight B vitamins in total.

Folic Acid is synthetic. It isn't Folate. Eventually your body will process it into folate, or at least that's the plan!

The problem however is that most often it doesn't. This comes down to a couple of factors:

  • Genetics

  • Far too much ingestion

When you put the two of those together, you end up with a perfect storm.

Humans require approximately 400mcg of MethylFolate per day. It's not alot in the scheme of things. However, many humans don't have a balanced diet, this can be due to any of the following just to name a few:

  • Lack of ability

  • Lack of knowledge

  • Financial constraints

  • Location

Where do we get folate from? All the good stuff, all the things that come out of the

ground and not out of a box, bag, packet or can.

  • Dark green leafy vegetables (turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli)

  • Beans

  • Peanuts

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Fresh fruits, fruit juices

  • Whole grains

  • Liver

  • Seafood

  • Eggs

Where else does it come from?

Folic Acid, the synthetic form, is in pretty much everything that is processed/manufactured. If a food label has the words 'Enriched' or 'Fortified' it will have it. Even some organic packaged foods are still enriched/fortified, and it is not good. Firstly the processed/packaged food is usually not good to begin with, that is essentially why it is enriched or fortified, as it is essentially void of any nutrition without this addition. Secondly though, it may impact you negatively if:

  • You have a genetically driven inability to process it

  • You take supplements (without proper guidance) & you consume an essentially balanced diet

  • Your diet is predominently processed/manufactured foods

So here is the problem, your body will prioritize true folate (from real food) as it's primary source. Now let's say that in the day you have consumed close to your daily requirement, and then in addition you also take a supplement, because that's what people do right? And in addition you have been ingesting rice, or pasta that is enriched/fortified, plus your bread, plus your cereal. Now your body not only has more than it needs, but it has more than it can cope with, as the balance is synthetic and requires more work to process it.

What's the answer? Simply put, stay away from it where possible.

Be savvy when you shop, be smart when you cook/eat. Look at every single label every time you buy anything. Even rice.


Cereal Ingredient Label

A label that states only 'Vitamins' isn't clear, it is very likely that those vitamins include Folic Acid.

Long Grain Rice Label

This label is very clear on the content of the product. Why Folic Acid is added to natural rice is a mystery.

Whole Wheat Bread Ingredient Label

This label has a relatively short list of ingredients, which is what you want to see, the more ingredients in a processed/manufactured product, the less food and nutrients there are. However, despite the requirement for ingredients to be listed, often times they are not. It is very likely that although this label doesn't mention Enriched or Folic Acid, the safest option is to avoid it as it isn't organic.

Sourdough Bread Ingredient Label

Right off the bat, this label is very clear about what is in it, not only does it have a long list of ingredients (which sourdough shouldn't have) but right there it is clear to see that the flour used was enriched and Folic Acid is also listed.

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