Folic Acid Facts from an Arkansas Nutritionist

“Folic acid is essential for our health, not just fertility, but for growing a healthy baby.” 

- Eric McMullen

 

Eric McMullen is a Nutritionist and Holistic Lifestyle Coach with Cell-to-Soul Health Therapies in Searcy, Arkansas. Since 2012, Eric has dedicated his time and energy to studying health and healing from a wide variety of disciplines such as herbalism, nutrition, tai chi and exercise science in order to help people recover and rebuild their health.

Here’s Eric’s advice about folic acid...

Pregnant Women Need to Take Folic Acid

Folic acid is extremely important for women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. In the early stages of pregnancy, folic acid helps form the neural tube, which later becomes the baby's spinal cord, spine, brain and skull. 

If women do not get enough folic acid while they're pregnant, the impacts not only affect their health, but the formation of their baby as well. Folic acid deficiency often results in Anemia, Neural Tube Defects, Spina Bifida or Anencephaly (which causes the baby to die within hours or days of being born). 

Get MTHFR Tested 

Methylation is a process that happens in the body, billions of times per second. This process, which involves converting Methionine into Homocysteine and back into Methionine, plays an integral role for most processes in our body, including fertility and pregnancy.

However, it is estimated that between 30-60% of women contain a gene variant that interferes with the Methylation, leaving them unable to properly utilize folic acid. In this case, eating folic acid fortified foods or taking synthetic folic acid supplements can prove toxic.

Thankfully, many doctors are now equipped to test to see if you have an MTHFR gene mutation. Eric recommends asking your doctor about an MTHFR testing, and if you do have an MTHFR gene mutation, work with a practitioner to modify your diet and supplementation accordingly.

Increase Folate in Your Diet 

Interestingly enough, the word “folate” is a derivative of the word “foliage”, which means the majority of natural sources of folate come from the foliage of leafy greens! Increase your intake of spinach, broccoli, leaks, chickpeas and other vegetables to get a healthy dose of folate in your diet. 

Supplements can be a great source of folate too. Eric recommends taking a B-Complex supplement, which contains folic acid (Vitamin B9), and the remaining seven B Vitamins. He suggests that “Most people need to take a B-Complex instead of a singular B supplement, because they all work together to support a healthy methylation cycle. In order for folic acid to work well, it needs all of its buddies!” 

To learn more about Eric McMullen and Cell-to-Soul Health Therapies, visit the following website: https://www.searcynaturalfoodstore.com/index.php/our-team/120-eric-mcmullen

We offer a variety of information and tips about folic acid in our Tips section. We also have additional resources available on our helpful links page. Of course, if you have any questions about folic acid, neural tube defects, or anything else pregnancy related, please feel free to contact us!