Are You Folate-Deficient?

Last week, I had my blood drawn. (We just moved to New York so we're setting up all our baseline
preventative appointments here. It took me a while, but I finally found a MD trained in functional medicine who accepts our insurance.)

I had been feeling a bit sluggish and down since our cross-country move. At first, I thought it was diet-related - it's not as easy to get fresh, healthy food on the East Coast as it was in San Francisco. But after a few months of clean eating, I felt only marginally better. I started exercising more, but that didn't help much either. So, it was off to the doctor's office to see if we could figure out what was up.

I got my results back and was jaw-droppingly shocked to find out that I had hyperhomocysteinemia (too much homocysteine). Homocysteine is a byproduct of protein metabolism that can wreak total havoc on our health. Symptoms of high homocysteine range from depression to Alzheimer's Disease to serious cardiovascular issues to osteoporosis to Down's Syndrome and more. It typically results from diets too high in animal protein and too low in B vitamins (found in legumes and dark green, leafy veggies).

Now, considering that I had just finished a fertility program designed to be particularly high in folate and other B vitamins, and leafy greens are a part of my everyday diet, that seemed impossible.

But there's a catch! (And this is where it gets super-important for YOU!)

Up to 50% of people have a genetic mutation that limits or prevents their absorption of folic acid (MTHFR).

This is one of the reasons why I recommend against supplements that use folic acid instead of folate.  

But if you have the genetic mutation, even if you're eating a folate-rich diet, additional supplementation with the naturally absorbable form of folate (5-MTHF) is needed.

You all probably already know how important folate status is during pregnancy. Deficiency in the early stages of pregnancy can cause neural tube defects like spina bifida. That's why it's essential to get enough folate before you conceive.

How much is enough? It is difficult to consume too much folate. In fact, one of the only concerns about excessive folate intake is that it can mask a B12 deficiency. If you're already taking a good prenatal multi that includes the methylcobalamin form of B12 (as found in the prenatal supplements that I carry), you shouldn't need to worry about that.

With that in mind, I just added L-5-MTHF capsules to my dispensary on Emerson Ecologics. Head on over to pick some up along with your prenatal multi. To set up your account, you'll just need the code natal3 and my zip code, 11201. Click here to buy products.

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