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REAL folate is much better than folic acid

post #1 of 126
Thread Starter 
Dr. Fuhrman warns:
DO NOT take multivitamins
that contain folic acid.
and
If you are pregnant,
DO NOT take prenatal vitamins!


Basically about 50% of the population doesn't process folic acid (which is synthetic B9) effectively. We require 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) the natural form, or else we have a lot of diseases and disorders, such as

Downs syndrome, blood clots, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, IBS, anxiety, fibromyalgia, depression, migraines, strokes, homocysteine, dementia, schizophrenia, nerve pain, Parkinson, miscarriage, infertility, Alzheimers, non-Hodkins lymphoma, gastric cancer, kidney failure, addiction, alcoholicsm, obesity, heavy metals, diabetes, Leiden Factor V, OCD, bipolar, aggression, liver dsyfunction, renal dysfunction, pulmorary fibrosis, autism, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, adenoma, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, spina bifida, neural tube defects, preeclampsia, placental abruption, hypothyroid, psoriasis, etc.

[there are nuances to the different types of folate, but bottom line, we must have sources of bio-available folate. ]

What foods provide folate?
Romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, liver, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, lentils, squash, black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, papaya, string beans..

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?t...trient&dbid=63


Also, many medications interfere with the utilization of folate:
Medications that can help deplete the body's supply of folate include: anticancer drugs like methotrexate; cholesterol-lowering drugs; anti-inflammatory drugs like sulfasalazine; biguanide drugs like buformin, phenformin, or metformin used in the treatment of diabetes; birth control pills (oral contraceptives); diuretics like triamterene; and antibiotics. While the anti-convulsant drug phenytoin (sold under the brand name of Dilantin or Phenytek) remains somewhat controversial in terms of its impact on folate.


Birth defects often occur due to the absence of adequate food folate, generally not the absence of synthetic B9 (folic acid), which is in prenatals and added to foods such as cereal and bread.


More specifically, there are issues with the methylation detox pathway.

Here are some threads discussing these issues:

what causes midline defects?

Butt Dimples (aka mid line issues - spun off from tongue-tie thread)

Tongue Tie Question

mthfr?

Folate and IgE allergies




Pat
post #2 of 126
I'm pretty sure that can't possibly be true, or they would've noticed it in all the studies showing that folic acid supplementation reduced the risk of neural tube defects. It's not like that's such a small percentage of the population that it wouldn't be obvious in studies. That's a huge proportion of people for whom it wouldn't work and they would have noticed it in the studies. Besides which, some studies have shown that synthetic folic acid is more biovailable, since it doesn't need to be converted from one form to another. (You'd have to google that, since I don't remember the names of the forms, but it should be easy to find.) I still take a food based prenatal, so there aren't any synthetic vitamins in it, because that's my preference. Oh, and it's still called folic acid, even though it's not synthetic (I don't know why).
post #3 of 126
Regarding the epilepsy drugs (dilantin, et al) affecting neural tube defects/folic acid, I have a childhood friend with epilepsy who had a lot of difficulties with pregnancy. She miscarried several times and did have a pregnancy with a baby with anencephaly (severe fatal neural tube defect). Her drs put her on really large doses of folic acid after that and she went on to have a healthy baby girl, but based on her anecdotal experience I wouldn't take a chance one not taking folic acid if I were on those kinds of meds.

I agree that food sources are excellent, but what would the problem be with supplementing? If it's not absorbed and you're still eating a diet high in folic acid you haven't affected anything and if the folic acid supps are absorbed you've helped.
post #4 of 126
Thanks for spreading the word, Pat.
post #5 of 126
Thread Starter 
Folic acid has only been supplemented in foods in the US, since January 1, 1998. The recent research evaluating that practice, as compared to countries who do not supplement synthetic folate is identifying significant concerns.

The MTHFR gene polymorphism has only been identified since 1999, maybe 1998. And another version of it only since 2003, iirc. The reproductive endocrinologists and some OBs seem to be aware of it due to a "seeming" association with repeated miscarriages. (here is a bunch more info, plus the links on the next page: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...n#post14539524 )

The concern regarding synthetic folic acid supplementation during pregnancy has only been found since the most recent 2009 research.

References:
1. Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ et al. Folate intake, alcohol use, and postmenopausal breast cancer risk in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;83(4):895-904.
2. Kim YI. Does a high folate intake increase the risk of breast cancer? Nut Rev; 2006; 64(10PT1) 468-75.
3. Figueiredo JC et al. Folic acid and risk of prostate cancer: results from a randomized clinical trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009 Mar 18;101(6):432-5. Epub 2009 Mar 10.
4. Fife, J et al. Folic Acid Supplementation and Colorectal Cancer Risk; A Meta-analysis. Colorectal Dis. 2009 Oct 27. [Epub ahead of print]
5. Whitrow MJ. Effect of Supplemental Folic Acid in Pregnancy on Childhood Asthma: A Prospective Birth Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Oct 30. [Epub ahead of print]
6. Haberg SE, London SJ, Stigum H, Nafstad P, Nystad W. Folic acid supplements in pregnancy and early childhood respiratory health. Arch Dis Child. 2009 Mar;94(3):180-4. Epub 2008 Dec 3.
7. Ebbing M et al. Cancer Incidence and Mortality After Treatment With Folic Acid and Vitamin B12. JAMA. 2009;302(19):2119-2126.
8. Charles D et al. Taking folate in pregnancy and risk of maternal breast cancer. BMJ 2004;329:1375–6
9. Harvard School of Public Health; The Nutrition Source: Keep the Multi, Skip the Heavily Fortified Foods; www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/folicacid/ Date accessed: 8/29/08.
10. Hirsch S et al. Colon cancer in Chile before and after the start of the flour fortification program with folic acid. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Apr;21(4):436-9.
11. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/591111
12. Kwan ML et al. Maternal diet and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Public Health Rep. 2009 Jul-Aug;124(4):503-14.
Tower RL et al. The epidemiology of childhood leukemia with a focus on birth weight and diet. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2007;44(3):203-42.
Petridou E et al. Maternal diet and acute lymphoblastic leukemia in young children.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Aug;14(8):1935-9.
Jensen CD et al. Maternal dietary risk factors in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (United States).Cancer Causes Control. 2004 Aug;15(6):559-70.
13. Huncharek M et al. A meta-analysis of maternal cured meat consumption during pregnancy and the risk of childhood brain tumors. Neuroepidemiology. 2004 Jan-Apr;23(1-2):78-84.
Pogoda JM et al. An international case-control study of maternal diet during pregnancy and childhood brain tumor risk: a histology-specific analysis by food group. Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Mar;19(3):148-60.
14. Sellers TA et al. Dietary folate intake, alcohol, and risk of breast cancer in a prospective study of postmenopausal women. Epidemiology. 2001 Jul;12(4):420-8.
15. Kim YI. Folic acid fortification and supplementation--good for some but not so good for others. Nutr Rev. 2007 Nov;65(11):504-11.
16. http://www.nutritiondata.com/tools/nutrient-search
17. Bjelakovic G, Nikolava D, Gluud LL, et al. Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patient with various diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008;16(2):CD00776.
18. Mayne ST. Beta-carotene, carotenoids, and disease prevention in humans. FASEB. 1996;10(7):690-701.
19. Goodman GE. Prevention of lung cancer. Current Opinion in Oncology 1998;10(2):122-126.
20. Kolata G. Studies Find Beta Carotene, Taken by Millions, Can't Forestall Cancer or Heart Disease. New York Times, Jan 19, 1996.
source: http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/fol..._vitamins.aspx



New research is focused on
adverse effects of our greatly increased folic acid intakes.

Here is an excellent explanation about MTHFR and pregnancy: http://lifebalanceinfertilitycoach.w...f-miscarriage/

ETA: I've been researching the MTHFR relation to cancer since March 2009, when my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...&postcount=289

It all goes back to food folate, rather than synthetic folic acid supplementation. The food supplementation with synthetic folic acid is a large public health experiment without prior safety studies related to pregnancy and cancer. Retrospective studies are indicating the danger of this current practice, which only started 10 years ago, in the US due to FDA regulations.


Pat
post #6 of 126
Pat, I would guess (since I'm not sure anyone knows for certain) that people with only one non-typical MTHFR gene would probably convert the folic acid pretty well. And the percentage with two copies of the non-typical MTHFR genes are a much smaller proportion of the population.

I'm torn on this--I _really_ wish that all prenatals had actual folate. I'm guessing that the folic acid in my prenatal helped with DS--he has a very slight sacral dimple, and given my overall health issues (which weren't obvious when we were TTC), I was surely low in folate, so I think it was actively good for him (best guess, looking back). But based on our health (mine and my family history), I don't think the MTHFR polymorphisms are an issue for us.

The problem, IMO, is that folic acid is seen as an absolute good, when in fact, for a proportion of the population, it may be harmful, and that discussion isn't happening. I guess the fact that the process to make the 5-mthf type of folate is patented is part of the issue, plus folic acid is already in the food supply. Bummer to have to go back and change that decision (though I don't think folate is as stable, so I don't think it _can_ be added).
post #7 of 126
I will always take folic acid in pregnancy AND eat a good diet. I'm so pleased we live in a day and age where we're able to do both.
post #8 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
Folic acid has only been supplemented in foods in the US, since January 1, 1998. The recent research evaluating that practice, as compared to countries who do not supplement synthetic folate is identifying significant concerns.

The MTHFR gene polymorphism has only been identified since 1999, maybe 1998. And another version of it only since 2003, iirc. The reproductive endocrinologists and some OBs seem to be aware of it due to a "seeming" association with repeated miscarriages. (here is a bunch more info, plus the links on the next page: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...n#post14539524 )

The concern regarding synthetic folic acid supplementation during pregnancy has only been found since the most recent 2009 research.

References:
1. Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ et al. Folate intake, alcohol use, and postmenopausal breast cancer risk in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;83(4):895-904.
2. Kim YI. Does a high folate intake increase the risk of breast cancer? Nut Rev; 2006; 64(10PT1) 468-75.
3. Figueiredo JC et al. Folic acid and risk of prostate cancer: results from a randomized clinical trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009 Mar 18;101(6):432-5. Epub 2009 Mar 10.
4. Fife, J et al. Folic Acid Supplementation and Colorectal Cancer Risk; A Meta-analysis. Colorectal Dis. 2009 Oct 27. [Epub ahead of print]
5. Whitrow MJ. Effect of Supplemental Folic Acid in Pregnancy on Childhood Asthma: A Prospective Birth Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Oct 30. [Epub ahead of print]
6. Haberg SE, London SJ, Stigum H, Nafstad P, Nystad W. Folic acid supplements in pregnancy and early childhood respiratory health. Arch Dis Child. 2009 Mar;94(3):180-4. Epub 2008 Dec 3.
7. Ebbing M et al. Cancer Incidence and Mortality After Treatment With Folic Acid and Vitamin B12. JAMA. 2009;302(19):2119-2126.
8. Charles D et al. Taking folate in pregnancy and risk of maternal breast cancer. BMJ 2004;329:1375–6
9. Harvard School of Public Health; The Nutrition Source: Keep the Multi, Skip the Heavily Fortified Foods; www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/folicacid/ Date accessed: 8/29/08.
10. Hirsch S et al. Colon cancer in Chile before and after the start of the flour fortification program with folic acid. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Apr;21(4):436-9.
11. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/591111
12. Kwan ML et al. Maternal diet and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Public Health Rep. 2009 Jul-Aug;124(4):503-14.
Tower RL et al. The epidemiology of childhood leukemia with a focus on birth weight and diet. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2007;44(3):203-42.
Petridou E et al. Maternal diet and acute lymphoblastic leukemia in young children.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Aug;14(8):1935-9.
Jensen CD et al. Maternal dietary risk factors in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (United States).Cancer Causes Control. 2004 Aug;15(6):559-70.
13. Huncharek M et al. A meta-analysis of maternal cured meat consumption during pregnancy and the risk of childhood brain tumors. Neuroepidemiology. 2004 Jan-Apr;23(1-2):78-84.
Pogoda JM et al. An international case-control study of maternal diet during pregnancy and childhood brain tumor risk: a histology-specific analysis by food group. Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Mar;19(3):148-60.
14. Sellers TA et al. Dietary folate intake, alcohol, and risk of breast cancer in a prospective study of postmenopausal women. Epidemiology. 2001 Jul;12(4):420-8.
15. Kim YI. Folic acid fortification and supplementation--good for some but not so good for others. Nutr Rev. 2007 Nov;65(11):504-11.
16. http://www.nutritiondata.com/tools/nutrient-search
17. Bjelakovic G, Nikolava D, Gluud LL, et al. Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patient with various diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008;16(2):CD00776.
18. Mayne ST. Beta-carotene, carotenoids, and disease prevention in humans. FASEB. 1996;10(7):690-701.
19. Goodman GE. Prevention of lung cancer. Current Opinion in Oncology 1998;10(2):122-126.
20. Kolata G. Studies Find Beta Carotene, Taken by Millions, Can't Forestall Cancer or Heart Disease. New York Times, Jan 19, 1996.
source: http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/fol..._vitamins.aspx



New research is focused on
adverse effects of our greatly increased folic acid intakes.

Here is an excellent explanation about MTHFR and pregnancy: http://lifebalanceinfertilitycoach.w...f-miscarriage/

ETA: I've been researching the MTHFR relation to cancer since March 2009, when my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...&postcount=289

It all goes back to food folate, rather than synthetic folic acid supplementation. The food supplementation with synthetic folic acid is a large public health experiment without prior safety studies related to pregnancy and cancer. Retrospective studies are indicating the danger of this current practice, which only started 10 years ago, in the US due to FDA regulations.


Pat
So, if you're worried about something that's only being reported in research published this year, why would you cite a bunch of references from earlier years when I'm guessing you haven't read the majority of them? Scientific research shouldn't be cherry-picked, especially by people who don't understand what it says...unless you care to summarize each of those articles you're using as evidence for your claims?
post #9 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by nashvillemidwife View Post
Who the hell is Dr. Fuhrman?

This is very bad advice. I hope that no posters take this seriously. Posting drivel like this is irresponsible and dangerous to the gullible readers who latch on to it.

Apparently a former ice skater. Click on his about me section and you can watch videos.

I really can't take a doctor seriously when they list their ice skating accomplishments on the same level with their medical accomplishments.

I agree that it is best to try and eat a lot of food with folic acid, but I hardly think it will hurt to take a supplement along with it.
post #10 of 126
OP, are you affiliated with this doctor?
How convenient that if you click your provided links to his "research", you can browse his site and see all the products he has for sale, including his very own super special multivitamin!
post #11 of 126
I completely concur, Pat. Increasing folate containing foods and being certain that your folate supplementation comes in the MTHF form of the vitamin, rather than the synthetic folic acid, is essential if you're uncertain of which MTHFR genes you carry. The fact that the synthetic form is being promoted as equivalent to the food form is irresponsible and dangerous, imo.
As for the PP who said "It's still called folic acid for some reason"- that's because the two forms are being presented as equivalent (which they're NOT) and that's sort of the point. And, actually, it DOES have to be converted from one form to another at the expense of other vitamins (sleep deprived so can't recall exactly which atm).
post #12 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
11. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/591111
12. Kwan ML et al. Maternal diet and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Public Health Rep. 2009 Jul-Aug;124(4):503-14.
I just looked at one study that you had highlighted:
Quote:
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that it may be prudent for women to consume a diet rich in vegetables and adequate in protein prior to and during pregnancy as a possible means of reducing childhood ALL risk in their offspring.
How does this relate to folic acid supplementation being dangerous??
post #13 of 126
Hogwash
post #14 of 126
post #15 of 126
...
post #16 of 126
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sophiekat View Post
OP, are you affiliated with this doctor?
How convenient that if you click your provided links to his "research", you can browse his site and see all the products he has for sale, including his very own super special multivitamin!
No, I am not an advocate for vitamin supplementation. I advocate whole foods for nutrition.

Not affiliated with any products or the doctor in any manner whatsoever.


Pat Robinson
post #17 of 126
I don't have enough computer time lately to have good links for everything, but here's the basic biochem:

If you look up the folic acid cycle, you'll see that folic acid (synthetic, in supplements) needs to be converted to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF, aka methyl folate) in order to be used in the methyl cycle (a primary use of folate in humans). This conversion involves a number of enzymes, including MTHFR. In a significant portion of the population (ballpark of 40-50%), the MTHFR enzyme isn't as efficient as in the rest of the population, and as a result, their methyl folate levels tend to be lower. That means their methylation may be impaired, and they're at risk for the list of diseases Pat is posting.

Folic acid is absorbed better in the digestive tract than food folate (5-MTHF and folinic acid are the food forms). As a result, taking folic acid can mean you're not absorbing as much food folate. There's a limit (diminishing returns) to how much folic acid your body can metabolize. It drops off around 260 mcg, and pretty much plateaus at 400mcg. I *think* those numbers are general population numbers not taking into account MTHFR. As you start supping more than you can process, you get unmetabolized, unusable folic acid floating around in your body and it competes for transport with the good stuff. Nobody really knows what effect the unmetabolized stuff has, but based on Pat's links, it doesn't look great.

I don't think anybody is saying anything good about being deficient in folate. What the latest research is starting to show is that the form of folate that you get really does matter. I think we'd all agree that food sources of nutrients are best whenever possible, and this is providing an explanation of *why* that's true for this vitamin in particular.

If you really want a reference for any of this and aren't having luck on your own, I'll see what I can dig up. Like I said, I'm not getting so much computer time these days.
post #18 of 126
Well I don't know nuthin bout no dr fuhrman.


But that's so funny to see a list of foods...b/c in my previous pregancy I craved and ate spinach leaves like potato chips out of the bag. And this pregnancy I am craving collard greens.

I slice the collard greens into strips, zest them with lime and a bit of balsamic vinegar then put them in a pan over heat for just a moment. Yum yum yum.


So who has a good source of supplemental folic acid? I've just been taking the bottle my mom passed to me...Bronson's labs?
post #19 of 126
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Pat, I would guess (since I'm not sure anyone knows for certain) that people with only one non-typical MTHFR gene would probably convert the folic acid pretty well. And the percentage with two copies of the non-typical MTHFR genes are a much smaller proportion of the population.
I do appreciate the concern regarding the "some people" can utilize folic acid. However, the issue regarding the cancers, asthma and other diseases linked to folic acid supplementation is concerning. And most pregnant women do not know if they are carrying the MTHFR gene and a large portion of the population has some polymorphism variant.




Pat
post #20 of 126
I think that there is no sound evidence to prove any of this, and thinking of it logically, most babies would not be healthy if this were true.

My head is spinning, honestly.
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