Trying to Conceive? Why Folic Acid Might Be Tricking You

If you and your partner are pregnant or trying to conceive, you’re probably taking folic acid. You’ve no doubt heard that folic acid can prevent neural tube defects and low birth rates. The vitamin that your body needs to prevent these problems is actually called Folate or B9, and is key for proper development of red blood cells, DNA and RNA. We can obtain folate naturally from certain foods like fresh fruits and leafy greens, but folate can easily become less effective when cooked. As a result, it can be very difficult to get the recommended values on a daily basis when you are trying to conceive.

The chemical version normally used in supplements is folic acid because it is generally more shelf stable ( and cheaper). Folic Acid needs to be converted to L-Methylated Folate  within our cells before we can use it.It is estimated that at least 40% of the population carry the MTHF gene, which means that they REALLY struggle to convert folic acid into the methylated form that our bodies can absorb. If we do not have enough (or the right type) of folate in our bodies, we will not have the right amount of red blood cells, which affects our energy levels and increases the chances of neural tube defects if we do conceive.. 

The result? That folic acid supplement you’re taking may not be helping with cellular growth after all. Recent research suggests doctors should be advising their patients about taking supplements with folate, specifically Folinic Acid or the L-MTHF version of folate.

We asked Dr. Ben Lynch, author of Dirty Genes for the biggest reason those trying to conceive should switch to folate. He explained that ‘Folic acid blocks real folate from folate binding proteins and folate receptors. So, folate doesn't get into the cell and one becomes functionally folate deficient, yet their blood folates appear to look fine.’

So why is this all so important? Folate is a water soluble vitamin, which means that your body cannot store it. During your reproductive years, you need to include folate in your diet or as a supplement daily. Folate is a key vitamin in cell growth. And having a healthy pregnancy is all about cells multiplying, dividing and growing the right way to prevent things like neural tube defects. As a result of many women who are trying to conceive using traditional supplements that contain folic acid, there are a large number of women whose blood results satisfy them and their doctors that they have enough folate in their system, but their bodies cannot process it well and therefore they are still deficient in the B9 that their bodies need to create and grow cells in a healthy way.

Do men and women need to supplement with folate? Simply put, yes. Absolutely. Men want to do everything they can to ensure cell growth is happening in their sperm in a healthy way. According to recent research,  “Folate levels measured in semen have been associated with sperm count and health. One study found that low folate levels in semen were associated with poor sperm DNA stability.” As a result, they should be taking a daily dose of folate while trying to conceive. Beli Vitality for Men contains the recommended daily levels of L-Methylated Folate for men during their child bearing years. Interested in finding out more about Beli Vitality for Men? Check out the ingredients list/how to purchase: belibaby.com

Boxmeer JC, Smit M, Utomo E, Romijn JC, Eijkemans MJ, Lindemans J, Laven JS, Macklon NS, Steegers EA, Steegers-Theunissen RP. "Low folate in seminal plasma is associated with increased sperm DNA damage." Fertil Steril. 2009 Aug;92(2):548-56. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.06.010. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

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