Pregnancy: The Problem with Folic Acid

We have all heard how important folic acid is, especially when you’re pregnant. However, have you ever stopped to think about what form you should be taking folate in? I bet no one in conventional medicine has ever even mentioned or suggested that there might be other forms, or an optimal type of supplementation to take when pregnant. Am I right?! 

For my pregnant clients, I recommend 5-MTHF, which is the best supplement to support methylation. If methylation is new to you, don’t worry, I’ll get to that! First, let’s go back to the start.


What is Folic Acid & What Does Folate Do?


You might have heard folate in the context of treating anaemia or blood disorders as well as for pregnancy because folate is essential for a healthy pregnancy and overcoming these aforementioned blood disorders. However, everyone needs a significant amount of folate to function properly.

Folate runs the body’s methylation cycle, which takes care of your neurological and cardiovascular health, your reproductive system and is vital for manufacturing DNA. In addition to these crucial systems, folate also helps manage your moods; serotonin, melatonin and norepinephrine cannot be manufactured without folate!

Folic acid is one of the most popular supplement forms of folate because it is often recommended in conventional medicine. It is used to treat anaemia by helping the body create more red blood cells and a suggested supplement for pregnant women due to the amount of blood required to grow a baby.


The Problem with Folic Acid


Folic acid is broken down by your body into 5-MTHF. This is called Methylation – I told you we would come back to it! Without this process, folic acid is useless until it is in the useable 5-MTHF form. During the process, up to 20% of the folic acid potency is diminished.

Therefore, you need to take MORE folic acid than what is suggested on the label in order to get the recommended amount of mg. However, I don’t recommend you do this because for one reason or another, your body may not be methylating effectively, and therefore you are not properly breaking down the folic acid into the usable 5-MTHF form. This results in a build-up of useless folic acid in your body.

Additionally, everything your body is doing takes energy. All these incredible processes are going on in the background within your body allowing you to put one foot in front of the other, smile, sleep, communicate, think!! Although this is happening without you having to flick an ‘on’ switch, it doesn’t mean it’s not using energy. Think of it like a smart home following an algorithm to keep your home at the perfect temperature – it still uses energy, right? It’s clear when the energy bill arrives each month!!

Your body uses energy to break down folic acid, and therefore the folic acid supplement that you’re taking isn’t ‘readily available’ for use and will create some natural wastage that your body will then have to work to excrete. So, how do we get around that?




5-MTHF refers to L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate, which is quite a mouthful, so we just say 5-MTHF. 5-MTHF is a form of folate that is bioavailable and active. This means that the body does not need to break it down, edit or translate it to use it – it’s already read the instructions booklet and knows exactly what to do with this form of folate!

5-MTHF is metabolically active and therefore it is ready for your tissue at arrival, no need for a change of clothes or a touch-up in the mirror. This bioavailability ensures that less of the folate will be excreted as natural waste because it will not be lost during the breaking down process. It also ensures that the 5-MTHF can get to work doing all the incredible things it does to keep your body ticking over, quicker.


What Happens When You Don’t Have Enough 5-MTHF


Did you know that approximately 60% of U.S. adults have a genetic mutation which means their bodies struggle to create enough 5-MTHF from dietary sources? Therefore, you could be eating all your leafy greens, taking your folic acid supplement and still be folate deficient. 

Folate deficiency can also occur due to the use of acid-blockers, some anti-seizure medications, liver dysfunction or a gut/digestive system issue which inhibits absorption.

Folate contributes to a healthy pregnancy, good blood health, cardiovascular health, neurological health, detoxification, your histamine metabolism, estrogen metabolism, hormone balance, eye health, fat metabolism, liver health and so much more. It goes without saying that it is vital that you have enough USABLE folate in the body.


Do You Have A Folate Deficiency?


There are ample studies showing how easy it is to be become folate deficient, especially if you have a MTHFR mutation. Unfortunately, a lot of people that have this mutation don’t even know and this can be easily tested!

Either way, whether you have a MTHFR mutation or not I still recommend choosing the methylated form for better absorption and utilisation and that is exactly why I chose 5-MTHF for the Daily Essential formula and stayed away from folic acid!

Be very careful in future with these typos please because if I hadn’t seen this, it would have looked really bad.




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