Even if you eat your greens there’s a good chance you need a vitamin supplement in your daily routine! Modern day soils are depleted of essential minerals and nutrients that we really need for optimal health. Because of this, there’s a good chance you will eventually become a self proclaimed supplement hoarder like myself.
Supplements seem relatively harmless — you check the ingredients, pick the most cost effective one, and walk out of Whole Foods $100 in the hole (or is that just me?).
Eventually, when you really start to delve into the world of wellness, you realize not every supplement is created equal.
Bioavailability is one of the most important things to consider when looking for supplements in general. Things like chelated minerals bound to amino acids and active vitamin forms like retinol. The one vitamin that you need to know about, though? Folic Acid (also known as B9). It’s in every prenatal, multivitamin, and hair-skin-nail complex out there. The problem is that folic acid is synthetic and requires a lot of enzymatic reactions in the liver to create its active form: folate. This is bad news for people with impaired liver function and MTHFR mutations (1 in 4 have it). Even worse, folic acid preferentially binds to liver receptor sites, preventing dietary folate from getting in. The low activity of the liver enzyme that converts folic acid can lead to elevated blood levels of folic acid (especially those with and MTHFR mutation), which is linked to cancer.
Active B9 does all the nice things like preventing anemia and birth defects, giving you energy, supporting mental health, and boosting the immune system. To reap all the benefits of folate, take your standard multivitamin (that probably contains folic acid) out of your routine to free up the receptor sites in your liver. Adding more spinach and legumes into your diet provides dietary folate that is easily converted by the liver. If greens aren’t really your preference (which, if you’re a wellness junkie… this probably isn’t you) or you know you have the MTHFR mutation, you can switch out your multivitamin for one that contains methylfolate!
This is something I desperately wish I would’ve known starting out my wellness journey. Save yourself money and a deficiency and get some folate!
Sophia Ruiz is a freelance writer, wellness blogger, and trained Esthetician from San Francisco, CA, now living in Toledo, OH. She shares science-based health, fitness, and lifestyle tips on her Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/curvenutrition.