“Just take folic acid,” they said.
“You need it or your baby won’t be healthy,” they said.”
How many doctors over how many years have been telling pregnant women that they need to be on a folic acid supplement (in addition to eating foods fortified with it)? Before I “woke up” eight years ago and realized that 99% of what we’re told to do when we’re pregnant is wrong, I took it too. But we now know, like most of the advice given to pregnant women, that taking folic acid is straight up bad advice.
Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate (vitamin B9) and is recommended to pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida, right? Except that we’re drowning in it and it’s harmful. Folic acid is in prenatal vitamins, bread, supplements, and processed foods and isn’t properly metabolized (especially if your MTHFR status is sub-par). It circulates in the blood and has been connected to all sorts of health issues from autism to food allergies.
In a recent study performed in the Boston Birth Cohort, scientists found that higher levels of unmetabolized folic acid measured at birth was associated with the development of food allergies.
“When folic acid is consumed in high quantities, some of it is not metabolized and circulates in the blood as “unmetabolized folic acid.”
What puzzled researchers even more was that folate levels of children who developed food allergies were lower, but the levels of synthetic folic acid and unmetabolized folic acid were higher. Out of the 1,394 children included in the study, 507 had a food sensitization and 78 had a food allergy.
- If your supplement contains folic acid, it isn’t a good one (it’s your first clue that your company doesn’t know what it’s doing, isn’t up on the latest research, or is sacrificing profit for health).
- If your doctor recommends folic acid, it’s your first sign that they’ve had absolutely no training in nutrition whatsoever or are choosing to ignore the science.
- If it’s in whatever it is you’re eating … stop eating it.
We need folate. We don’t need folic acid. One is helpful. One is harmful. It’s as simple as that.