While many of us have been led to believe that taking folic acid is actually good for your health, especially during pregnancy, the truth is it can actually be harmful for you.
Folate, which is also known as vitamin B-9, or folic acid in its synthetic form, is one of the essential B vitamins.
We need to consume in our diets and it is required by the human body for cell division and to make genetic material, including DNA.
As a water soluble vitamin, the body will excrete any excess that it does not readily utilize, so overdosing on this type of vitamin is thought not to be a problem.
Yet, when it comes to taking any amount of the synthetic form of this vitamin, then its exact impact upon human health has been called into question.
Why folic acid can harm you
For example, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who supplemented with folic acid increased their breast cancer risk by 20-30%.
Another study looked at women taking a multivitamin complex with folic acid over a 10-year period.
They found that those women were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those that didn’t supplement with folic acid. (1,2)
Also, excessive amounts of folic acid in the body can actually take up the receptor cites that are normally used to gather up the natural form of folate instead.
This can lead to negative results during pregnancy, including:
- Repeated miscarriages and neural tube defects
- Mid-line defects, which include tongue tie
- Anxiety, neurological issues and anemia
- Thyroid issues
One study found that pregnant women who took folic acid supplements increased the risk of childhood asthma by 26%! (3)
In fact, getting your folate from whole plant foods is always the best idea as it is in its most natural form.
If, for some reason, this is not possible then supplementing with whole-food folate instead of folic acid is the next best option.
The synthetic form of folic acid, as found in multivitamins, standard pre-natal vitamins and fortified food such as processed flour and cereals, should be avoided.
Instead, make sure that your diet is naturally rich in folate.
In addition to this, there are wholefood state pre-natal supplements, which include folate instead of folic acid.
So we highly recommend you checking any supplement before you buy it to ensure that it has folate and not folic acid in it.
The great news is that a raw or high raw food plan is naturally rich in folate. It is found in an abundance in natural whole foods such as healthy green vegetables, like lettuce, spinach, kale, and cauliflower.
So you will be consuming an abundance of it, without creating any potential health issues!
- 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.
- Kim YI. Does a high folate intake increase the risk of breast cancer? Nut Rev; 2006; 64(10PT1) 468-75. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17063929
- Whitrow MJ, Moore VM, Rumbold AR, Davies MJ. Effect of supplemental folic acid in pregnancy on childhood asthma: a prospective birth cohort study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Dec 15;170(12):1486-93.
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