What is Folic Acid
Folic acid has been used to prevent birth defects by pregnant women. It has been purported to help prevent cardio and cerebral vascular diseases. Folic acid in most supplements is synthetic and research has shown that the body cannot properly convert much folic acid into a usable folate form and may be detrimental to the body. Folic acid is chemically known as pteroylglutamic acid and is a crystalline substance. Folates exist in foods, yet crystalline folic acid does not. In 2004 the British Medical Journal confirmed what any natural health professionals have known all along: since folic acid is unnatural and the body cannot fully convert large amounts of it into usable folate, this artificial substance can be absorbed and may have known negative consequences in the human body. A JAMA study concluded that “studies have suggested that folate intake decreases risk of cardiovascular diseases, but folic acid supplementation has not been shown to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases. It is clear that natural food folate works because it is natural versus it’s synthetic folic acid form. Some of the best sources for food folate are broccoli and alfalfa sprouts. When cooking or processing foods 50-95% of the folate can be destroyed. Yeast, dark green leafy vegetables, and oranges have the highest folate content.
Folic Acid and Cancer
Folate is an important nutrient for healthy blood. Insufficient folate can result in fatigue, depression, confusion, anemia, reduced immune function, loss of intestinal villi, and an increase in infections. Some research is suggestive that the synthetic folic acid may have adverse effects on your health. A study in Chile revealed hospitalization rates for colon cancer among men and women age 45 and older more than doubled in their country since folic acid fortification was introduced in 2000. Research from Norway found that supplementing with 800mcg of folic acid daily for more than 3 years raised the risk of developing lung cancer by 21 percent. Another, in which men took 1000 mcg of folic acid or a placebo, produced twice the risk for prostate cancer. The conclusion is that we all need the natural folate found in leafy greens, orange juice, and other foods. Synthetic folic acid is unnatural and is not absorbed in the same pathway as folate. Caution should be considered when taking synthetic USP vitamins containing folic acid.
This article on Folic Acid is informational and not to be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition