Friday, April 16, 2010

Folate Vs. Folic Acid

Did you know there is a difference? Folate is in food; folic acid has been added to our food. Information coming out now is pointing to the dangers of consuming folic acid. I feel especially passionate about passing on this article ("Is Your Breakfast Giving You Cancer?", because I am just one of many expectant moms, most of whom are being encouraged to consume a multi-vitamin with folic acid. After my own reading and research, we decided over four years ago that multi-vitamins were not proven safe or effective. "The research is mixed, at best," says Jay Martin, president of NSA JuicePlus. During my pregnancies, I confidently eat extra JuicePlus because it is ONLY food and I know that the folate I need is best consumed from these raw foods. Our family does not consume multi-vitamins. We stay away from things enriched and fortified. (Would you be enriched if someone stole $100 from you and then gave you back $10?!) We steer clear of processed foods and try to eat as WHOLE as possible.

These make total sense to me. Here are the conclusions of the above article from Prevention:

* Continue to eat as many foods as you want that contain natural folate (leafy greens, citrus fruits, lentils, and dried beans). You can't OD that way.

* Read labels. Cereals vary wildly in the amounts of folic acid they contain, and you can probably figure that you're getting more than the label says. One study of the 29 most popular cereals found that the actual level of folic acid and iron was up to 3 times higher than the amount listed. Check your sports drink too--many contain folic acid.

* Switch to noninstant oatmeal, which isn't usually fortified, instead of other breakfast cereals.

* Choose whole grain flour, bread, cereal, pasta, and rice. Whole grain foods aren't required to be fortified. As a result, 1 cup of whole wheat flour has only about 50 mcg of folic acid, while the same amount of refined flour contains almost 400 mcg. If your bread or cereal is made with whole grain flour, that should be the first ingredient listed.

* Rethink that multivitamin. A recent CDC study discovered that half of supplement users who took supplements with more than 400 mcg of folic acid exceeded 1,000 mcg per day of folic acid. Most supplements pack 400 mcg. If you take a multi as insurance, ask your doctor whether individual supplements (of vitamin D and calcium, for instance) may be smarter.

1 comment:

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