Folate (Vitamin B9) is a very important nutrient, especially during pregnancy.
Folate deficiency may cause serious birth defects of the spinal cord and the brain, and may pose a risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, which has to be changed in the body through several steps before it becomes a folate. Unfortunately, some people cannot metobolize folic acid properly, which leads to a buildup of unmetabolized folic acid. Latest research studies show that too much synthetic folic acid may increase the chances of getting cancer.(source)
Women planning to get pregnant should be consuming 800-1200 mcg of folate per day during several months before they decide to conceive.
Daily recommendation of folate for pregnant women is 600-800 mcg per day.
Folate is naturally found in whole food sources and is also called “tetrahydrofolate”.
Good food sources of folate: 1 cup of cooked black eyed peas contains about 356 mcg of folate, 1 cup of cooked lentils contain about 358 mcg of folate, 1 cup of cooked spinach contains about 263 mcg, 1/2 cup of cooked asparagus contains 134 mcg, 100 gr of avocado contains 122 mcg of folate, 1/2 cup of cooked brocolli has about 84 mcg of folate, 1 orange contains 47 mcg, 1 cup of shredded lettuce contains about 64 mcg of folate, 1 cup of cooked beets contain about 148 mcg,
Best food sources of folate: calf’s liver, chicken liver, duck liver. 1/2 cup of liver provides about 600 mcg of folate! Choose grass-fed and pastured liver.
Find a recipe for cooking a soft, delicious, and non-rubbery liver here.
Please, take a note that frozen vegetables loose a very significant amount of folate in them. Frozen liver retains most of its folate even after 6 months.
If you feel you are not getting enough folate through food, make sure you get it through a quality supplement in the form of folate (“5-methyltetrahydrofolate”, “5-MTHF”), not folic acid. It is best to verify your serum folate levels before committing to supplementing.
What to pay attention in Folate supplements?
Make sure your supplement contains bio-available (Methyl)Folate, not Folic acid.
ONLY purchase these forms of methylfolate which are biologically active (bioavailable):
- L forms
- L-5 forms
- L-Methylfolate calcium
- 6(S) forms
- Levomefolic Acid
- Quatrafolic- The 4th generation L-methylfolate glucosamine
The below forms of methylfolate are not metabolized by the body and reduce the bioavailability of L-methylfolate.
AVOID purchasing these forms of methylfolate which are NOT bioavailable:
- 6(R) forms
- D forms
Also, please, consider this about food derived folates in supplements: “When isolated from food, folate converts to folic acid. While it’s not synthetic, if you have any methylation mutations, you body won’t be able to reduce it back into usable folate.”
Recommended Folate supplements (with no magnesium stearate):
- Pure Encapsulations – Folate 400 (my choice)
- Thorne Research – 5-MTHF 1 mg Folate
- Doctor’s Best Fully Active Folate with Quatrefolic