Folate vs Folic Acid. Are You Getting It Right?
For years I’ve been a vitamin taker. Why? Because many of the foods we eat are grown on farm lands made up of nutrient-depleted soil. That means the foods we eat are often not what they used to be. Additionally, my diet often falls short of achieving an optimal balance. For these reasons, a good multi-mineral vitamin was a smart move. But were the vitamins I selected delivering what my body needed? Yes and no.
My Vitamins Were The Best
Before Young Living, I purchased vitamins from a respected company. Their vitamins were proven and effective — even patented. There seemed to be no reason to switch just because Young Living came into the picture.
One day my wife (Sandi) asked me why I didn’t want to use Young Living vitamins, and my answer was simple: There needed to be facts or some type of comparison that gave me a reason to make the change. Don’t get me wrong — I trusted Young Living. It’s just… well, my vitamins had an advantage. Plus they were patented!
But then the facts did come in: I learned more about the real vitamin B.
Folate vs. Folic Acid
Vitamins, cereals and other fortified food items contain vitamin B. My trusted vitamins contained vitamin B. So what’s the problem? Most of them don’t really contain vitamin B. Instead they contain the created-in-the-lab-frankenstein version of vitamin B called folic acid.
Most vitamins do not contain real, organic folate.
Folic Acid is not real folate. Folic acid is a synthetic. It’s a chemical created in the 1940’s as a cheaper solution to the real thing. And like many other synthetics, folic acid doesn’t have the same positive impact on the human body that natural folate does (found in fresh vegetables). In fact, it’s possible folic acid could be hurting us. But don’t take my word for it:
David Smith, PhD – University of Oxford
“The more we learn about folic acid, the more it’s clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks.” – David Smith PhD | Rockwell Nutrition
Newcastle University Institute of Cellular Medicine
“Folic acid fortification has been advised and adopted on the basis that the body treats it in the same way as natural folates we get from vegetables, but now we know that’s just not the case,” said Paul Finglas from the IFR. The new study clearly showed that 86 percent of folic acid in the hepatic portal vein is unmetabolised, whilst almost all of the natural folate was converted correctly. – Newcastle University
“Indeed, many scientists have grown increasingly concerned about mounting research — including a study published last winter in the Journal of the American Medical Association — suggesting that all the extra folic acid might increase your odds of developing cancer.” Read the article: too much folic acid can cause cancer.
Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
“We also have to recognize that even for the best ingredients; too much may not be health-supporting. For example even excessive amounts of certain B vitamins may have a negative influence on lifespan. However, the most powerful lifespan shortening substance is likely synthetic folic acid which has been found to increase risk for several cancers.” – Be wise when you supplement
“…We analyzed the cancer incidence of six previously published large prospective folic acid-supplementation trials in men and women. These articles were carefully selected from over 1100 identified using PubMed search. Our analyses suggest that cancer incidences were higher in the folic acid-supplemented groups than the non-folic acid-supplemented groups.” Baggott JE, Oster RA, Tamura T. Meta-analysis of cancer risk in folic acid supplementation trials. Cancer Epidemiol 2011.
Holy crap! I don’t know about you, but after reading the above, real folate is what my body needs. But like so many things, quality has been sacrificed on the industrial, cost-savings altar where health and wellness take the back seat.
Young Living Master Formula
To my wife’s credit (remember she encouraged me to use YL vitamins), the Master Formula vitamins from Young Living do not use folic acid, but instead use folate. The image below is a picture of me holding the YL box. If you can read the fine print, you’ll notice Master Formula features folate (vitamin B9) made from an organic food blend. Beautiful. The real thing from real organic foods.
(click the image to view larger version)
My Trusted Vitamins
When I learned about Young Living’s real folate, I was completely confident that my trusted vitamins would in fact NOT be using folic acid. It would be the real thing. I grabbed a box and looked at the ingredients — here’s what I saw:
To my dismay, my vitamins contained a dark secret – a compromise: they weren’t delivering real folate. I looked a little more and noticed that the vitamin C they contained was ascorbic acid. Another synthetic!!!
A quick check back to Master Formula showed they are using a combination of calcium ascorbate and acerola cherry. According to Live Strong, acerola cherries contain more vitamin C than all other food sources. This means that on a minimum of two accounts, Young Living vitamins are delivering more natural to my body for B and C vitamins than what I’d been using previously.
The Quality Challenge
I challenge you to grab the supplements you trust and check their ingredients. If you discover folic acid is being used, there’s an unavoidable question which follows: if your vitamins contain cheaper, synthetic versions of the real thing, what other short cuts are they taking? The entire point of vitamins is caring for the body’s wellness, which makes synthetic vitamins completely absurd.
If synthetics are used, what other shortcuts exist?
I’m proud of D. Gary Young. His commitment to quality, and his understanding of nature (and the body) is helping thousands and thousands of people every day. Young Living takes the more difficult road to guarantee quality. Those old vitamins of mine may catch up someday, but I’m not waiting around to find out. My body deserves real folate, and that’s what it’s going to get.
Goodbye folic acid… can’t say it’s been nice knowing you.