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Should you skip folic acid?

Medical Director, Pregnancy
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Should you skip folic acid?

In my opinion, no! But some recent media coverage may have pregnant women thinking they should: http://fxn.ws/UH76dU
Some researchers have recently said that the traditional form of folate that women get in their prenatal vitamins (folic acid) may not be the right type of folate for all women, including those who have a certain gene mutation called MTHFR mutation – this mutation may make it difficult for their bodies to metabolize the folate in folic acid form. I am a little confused because they still suggest supplementing with folic acid, but they recommend adding in a methylated form of it called MTHF.
The lead commenting physician is a naturopathic physician, and while I am all for complementary medicine I think we should hold off on any sweeping changes to what pregnant women put in their body until we have rigorous data. This article even says (buried way down deep, unfortunately), “In fact, according to an article in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database— a resource for health professionals that provides evidence-based reviews of dietary supplements and alternative therapies— there is no evidence that MTHF is any better than folic acid, even in people who have the MTHFR gene variants .”
We also don’t want to scare women away from folic acid, which we know skipping can definitely cause problems!! And they kind of make it sound like taking folic acid is dangerous. Sigh.
Take-home: Take your prenatal vitamins. Take extra folic acid if you have risk factors (covered in our Bundoo article here http://fxn.ws/UH76dU If you’ve been diagnosed with MTHFR mutation, talk with your doctor, but know that we don’t have a ton of data regarding what this media coverage is talking about, yet.

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