I am currently reading "Super Immunity" by Dr Joel Fuhrman (which I highly recommend). There is a VERY interesting section on Folic Acid. With Veteran Mommy being pregnant, the part of folic acid stuck out to me (since most pregnant women are told by their doctors to increase their intake of folic acid - usually in their prenatal supplements).
The key point to know is that FOLATE is not the same thing as FOLIC ACID. Folate is naturally found in plant foods (especially green vegetables) and is important in fetal development. Folic acid on the other hand is NOT found in natural foods and is the SYNTHETIC form of folate. Folic acid is added to a lot of refined foods "in an attempt to replace nutrients that are lost during the processing of whole grains." New research is showing that too much folic acid can be harmful (especially when a typical diet is combined with a multi-vitamin containing folic acid)
To quote Dr Fuhrman:
"Folate is abundant in all green vegetables. We do not need synthetic folic acid supplements to meet our daily folate requirements (this goes for pregnant women also)."
He then goes on to list numerous research studies linking folic acid intake to CANCER. In fact, one study found that women who took extra folic acid during pregnancy were found to be TWICE as likely to die from breat cancer as women who had no folic acid supplementation.
It was also linked to childhood asthma, infant respiratory tract infections, and cardiac birth defects.
WO, I had NO idea about any of this!!!
Another interesting part was that higher-levels of folate FROM FOOD is linked to a DECREASE in cancer.
So it seems apparent that what doctors should be telling people is to increase their beans and greens in order to get higher levels of folate, rather than relying on a pill.
A few great sources of folate include:
Dr Fuhrman also recommends that women take a blood test for folate sufficiency before even complemplating pregnancy ....and don't forget that diet rich in green vegetables.