Folate and Folic Acid: Are They Both Created Equal?

Folate and Folic Acid: Are They Both Created Equal?

January 8-14 is National Folic Acid Awareness Week, so we are here to give you some insight into the world of folate and folic acid. Most people, including some medical practitioners and nutritionists, believe that folic acid and folate are one in the same. In fact, they are not interchangeable because one is natural and the other is not.

Folate is a natural source of several B vitamins, commonly referred to as B9, which is found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Folic acid, on the other hand, is a synthetic B vitamin found in dietary supplements and fortified foods. Because folic acid is synthesized, it can be difficult for the body to process it. This is bad news considering that Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all pregnant women or women of childbearing age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day to prevent spina bifida and anencephaly, two serious birth defects.

Because the government and mainstream media has led women to believe that folic acid is a naturally occurring vitamin, people may blame certain health symptoms on other things that aren’t actually legitimate causes. If women are consuming the daily recommendation of 400 micrograms of folic acid, the body may not be able to properly process all of it. This can cause un-metabolized folic acid to enter the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Too Much Folic Acid

When there is an excessive amount of folic acid in the bloodstream, clinical studies have reported significant cognitive decline, as well as an increased risk for cancer. Many people with these excess levels of folic acid can experience the following symptoms:

  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency
  • Epilepsy
  • Problems focusing
  • Sleep troubles
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Mood swings

Foods High in Folate

Folic acid wasn’t introduced to our diets until 1943. Since it was proven to lower the risk of neural tube defects in infants, it became integrated to a list of necessary daily nutrients. But people forgot about how to get equal benefits from the all-natural folate. The best folate foods include:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Citrus fruit
  • Legumes
  • Sprouted grains
  • Avocados
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts

Be sure to load up on the foods (listed above) if you think that you don’t have enough folate in your diet. Don’t solely eat these foods because you don’t want to throw your diet out of whack. Try to eat a well-balanced diet so that your body is getting all the essential nutrients it needs.

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